To mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Musée des Arts de la mode, founded in 1986 by Pierre Bergé and the French textile industry with the support of Jack Lang, the culture minister at that time, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is paying tribute to this collective adventure and great “fashion moment.” This extraordinary exhibition casts a new spotlight on one of the richest collections in the world to be shown in the museum’s nave.

This version of Fashion Forward, specially re-sized as a touring exhibition, takes us on a journey through time, highlighting the key moments in fashion history from the mid 19th century to the most contemporary creations. It also provides a fascinating new insight into fashion’s evolution via its designers, clients and periods. Now more than ever at the MAD, fashion is treated as an artistic field that has wide-ranging echoes in the museum’s other collections. Fashion is a history of evolving techniques, materials and designs, but also a history of changing times and attitudes, a reflection of the art of living.

Fashion is even more fascinating when it is not self-generating but in dialogue with the arts of its time. In a completely novel manner, the exhibition recreates each of these “fashion moments” in its human, artistic and social context. Scenic wallpapers by Zuber, Paul Iribe’s drawings for the robes de Paul Poiret, and the straw marquetry doors created by Jean-Michel Frank for the writer François Mauriac, provide perfect settings for fashion’s stylistic expressions and the metamorphoses of the body and style from the mid 19th century.

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