Fashioning Fashion: LACMA collection debuts at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs


Exhibit banner from Les Arts Décoratifs’ site.  

An important collection of European fashion from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has traveled to France, now on view at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs museum through 14 April 2013.  Fashioning Fashion: Two Centuries of European Fashion, 1700 – 1915 was previously exhibited at LACMA in 2010 and the German Historical Museum of Berlin in 2012 and celebrates the acquisition (by LACMA) of remarkable collections by Martin Kamer and Wolfgang Ruf, two one-time competitors on the antique-clothing-acquisition market who decided to pool their collections a few years ago and offer the fruits of their labor for purchase to several museums.  The nearly 100 ensembles on view for both men and women trace the major stylistic and aesthetic developments of European fashion throughout the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, in fully-accessorized looks hailing mainly from France, Italy, and England.

Coinciding with the exhibition is LACMA’s recent acquisition of 158 couture garments and objets spanning from 1880 – 2008 from a who’s who list of groundbreaking designers, including Cristobal Balenciaga, Madame Grès, Yves Saint Laurent, Madeleine Vionnet, and even Alexander McQueen.  In an astonishing bonus, LACMA also acquired the Madeleine Vionnet pattern archives by renowned Vionnet historian and expert Betty Kirke.  (For those looking to get their hands on patterns themselves, don’t miss Kirke’s seminal book, now in its 3rd printing- it includes 30 Vionnet patterns to scale along with sewing instructions).  We can’t wait to see the latter collection on display…until then, be sure to head to Les Arts Décoratifs before mid-April.

Below, a selection of pieces currently on view in Paris or waiting to be unveiled from LACMA’s archives.


On view in Paris: Silk-embroidered Linen toile blouse, circa 1730-1760, from England or India. © 2010 Museum Associates/LACMA


On view in Paris: Detail of a silk dress in the French style/à la Française, circa 1725, ©2010 Museum Associates/LACMA


Recent Acquisition: Cauët Sœurs, Evening Dress, circa 1912, purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson, photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Detail shot, Dress by Cauët Sœurs

Recent Acquisition: Madeleine Vionnet, Evening Dress, 1925, purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson, photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Recent Acquisition: Jeanne Lanvin, Evening Dress, circa 1935, purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson, photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Detail shot, Dress by Jeanne Lanvin

Recent Acquisition: Jean Dessès, Evening dress, 1956,purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson, photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Detail shot, Dress by Jean Dessès

Recent Acquisition: Madame Grès, Evening dress, 1987,purchased with funds provided by Ellen A. Michelson, photo ©2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

On view in Paris: Cuissardes (Thigh-high boots), circa 1900, Europe, ©2010 Museum Associates/LACMA


On view in Paris: satin Court Dress of Marie II of Portugal, circa 1845, ©2010 Museum Associates/LACMA

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