PARIS — The fashions of the Second Empire are being revived and celebrated in an exhibition at the Musée Galliera here featuring the opulent and more sober dresses of the era.
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“It has been 35 years since such an exhibition has come together,” said Galliera curator Catherine Join-Dieterle. “Paris is the capital of luxury. This exhibition incorporates textiles and accessories, from the modest to the more bling-bling.”
There are more than 300 pieces on display that chart fashions from 1852 to 1870: ballgowns reflecting the lavish lifestyle of the well-heeled, daywear fit for ladies of leisure and illustrations of the garments worn and the craft of the dressmakers of the Second Empire.
“It was not simply about show,” said Join-Dieterle. “There is a very refined side to the fashions during the period of Napoleon III.”
Silhouettes move from rigid pinched waists and voluminous skirts to more modern, free-flowing gowns, but the exhibition underlines that, although fashions may change substantially, the preparation and care that is required for a woman’s wardrobe is ever present and always important.
The preserved 150-year-old garments will be on display until April 26, after which the Galliera will start to prepare for its fall exhibition on the glamour of the Fifties.
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