Paris is a city that takes fashion seriously. They respect the couture houses which have established themselves over decades, creating or even engulfing a designer's career (go and see Yves Saint Laurent if you haven't already, as indulgently beautiful a film as it could be). Speeding through the tunnel on the Eurostar, the evidence was there before I'd even sipped my Earl Grey, looking at the cover of their Metropolitan magazine.
On my wish list to see whilst I was in Paris was the Dries Van Noten exhibition at the musée des Arts décoratifs. Happily I got to spend a good chunk of time there as it really is a feast for the eyes, I felt totally saturated by the colours and rich textures by the time I left.
This is the first exhibition devoted entirely to the Belgian artist's work, shows us his inspirations and processes allowing us to peer into the mind of the designer. As well as the fashion collections the exhibition has sourced some amazing paintings and pieces to demonstrate the broad references the designer draws upon.
There are many paintings by famous fine artists featured alongside the garments giving a sense of the depth of the ideas and a sense of creativity that goes into the collections. The use of portraits was interesting as clothing is such a personal thing. Selecting your most worn/favourite outfit and displaying it on a mannequin in a gallery could be just as personal and revealing (or more so) as with sitting for a portrait.
You can see directly how the styles and techniques of the artists have influenced the fashion work and what makes them more than just clothing. The way they were displayed as well is an all encompassing world of colour and patterns that grows over walls, floors and ceilings so with each section you are immersed completely. With this exhibition the aim really does seem to be an experience in Fashion as Art.
I loved the way they used these life-size photographs of Francis Bacon's studio. The paint splattered surroundings bleed into the mannequins associating them with their freedom of expression and creativity.
Happy Museum Week! Whether near or far, go and see something new, old, or a mixture of the two and be inspired!