To tell the story of the last forty years of fashion is no mean feat. And yet, in Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, curator Olivier Salliard has done just that, conveying fashion’s changing moods, trends and attitudes with ease. Now in its second instalment, Les Années 1990-2000, the show is a master class in display. Mirrors guide the eye from collar to cuff, and onto the next collection, garments float on mid-air mannequins and captions take the form of labelled leaves of translucent paper artfully strewn across the museum floor.
Arranged via aesthetic rather than chronology, viewers move from Belgian deconstruction and Japanese minimalism, to Martine Sitbon’s grunge. The first instalment of the exhibition (which is now closed) kicked off with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 collection ‘Liberation’, commemorating the birth of pret-a-porter. Les Années 1990-2000 goes on to explore the rise – and delightful abandonment – of function in fashion. Exit through the gift shop via the drama of Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf.
Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine, vol. II: Les Années 1990-2000 is at Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris until 8th May 2011
Images courtesy of Guy Marineau and Philippe Brazil. Words by Sarah Smith