Paris via New York: Paris Refashioned at FIT


Paris Refashioned 1957-1968” at the Museum at FIT (7th Avenue at 27th Street) examines the influence of popular culture on the Paris fashion industry during those pivotal years – 1957 being the year Christian Dior passed away and was succeeded by Yves St-Laurent, and “soixante-huit” the year that ushered in a period of social and political ferment not merely in Paris, but everywhere.

Those heady in-between years marked the shift from the haute couture house to the ready-to-wear boutique, spurred on by couturiers St-Laurent, Givenchy, and Cardin, and giving rise to exciting new designers such as Courrèges, Ungaro, and Emanuelle Khanh.

“Blast from the past” highlights include Courrèges’ famous white leather boots and white sunglasses, a Mondrian-inspired geometric dress from St-Laurent, and an elegantly pared-down black suit and black quilted bag with gold chain by Chanel.

Show runs from February 10 to April 15, 2017.

Merci beaucoup to frequent contributor Betty Guernsey for this review!


Paris via Film, Dior and YSL

Merci beaucoup to regular contributor Betty Guernsey for her reviews of two new films on Paris couture:

Two lavish films on Paris couture, recently released, offer behind-the-scene glimpses of how things work, and the creative process – not all of it pretty.

The first, Dior and I, is a lush documentary based on the House of Dior’s most recent artistic director, Belgian-born Raf Simons, in which Simons and his atelier play themselves, and in which the designer has only eight weeks to create his very first couture collection. (The legendary Christian Dior himself appears in archival footage.)

The second, Saint-Laurent, is a biographical film in which French actor Gaspard Ulliel portrays Yves Saint-Laurent with scrupulous, often painful, authenticity. One is left wondering what Dior, who died in 1957, would have made of the freewheeling 70’s lifestyle, or of the digital technology used today in virtually every aspect of haute couture.

Have you seen these films? What did you think?

Yves St Laurent Retrospective at Petit Palais


I love the Petit Palais, with its sunlit grand gallery, grand collection, and innovative temporary expos. And I love that they’ve organized an Yves St Laurent retrospective, not far from the Dior showroom where the designer first found success in the 1950s.

The show traces 40 years of work, from YSL’s beginnings at Dior to evening wear created he created before his death. More than 300 pieces of haute couture and prêt-à-porter demonstrate how YSL revolutionized women’s wardrobes with tuxedos, trousers suits, safari suits, Mondrian-inspired patterns, and more.

Drawings, films, and photos provide historical context. The expo, sponsored by Fondation Pierre Bergé and the city of Paris, gets underway just as the ready-to-wear fall/winter collections are ending.