I have plenty that I am ready to share from my research and sketchbook work for my last unit project from Year 1 at London College of Fashion - a collaboration between the BA Hair, Make-Up and Prosthetics course and BA Costume for Performance. We worked on the text 'The Madwoman of Chaillot', designing and realising our characters in groups of 5/6.
You can see my finished costume here - Irma in 'The Madwoman of Chaillot' - but it's also great to share the design process and inspiration, and I had so much fun researching for this project! To kick start our term we spent a few art-packed days in Paris, full of fantastic exhibitions and visits, the highlight of which would have to be 'Paris Haute Couture', supported by Swarovski, at the beautiful Hotel de Ville.
Set against the incredible backdrop of the one of the most impressive Neo-Renaissance buildings in Paris, this exhibition was everything I could have wanted and much, much more! Every piece displayed was striking and engaging, and the range of dresses from the 19th to 21st century meant there was something for everyone; in fact funnily, after looking at the fantastic 19th Century dresses for the costume of the Madwoman in my project, my friend and I bumped into all four of our tutors, and proceeded to have an impromptu lesson on bias cut 1920s gowns and the draping of dramatically pleated 50s Dior dresses!
Entering the exhibition you were greeted by an introductory display of photos and drawings telling the story of Haute Couture in Paris, it's origins in the 19th Century with Worth's renowned gowns to the present day and the iconic Parisian fashion houses such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, and the behind-the-scenes process of making these fabulous garments.
Chanel is one of my most loved fashion brands - the collections have a beautiful historical theatricality (my favourite collection, the Marie-Antoinette themed Resort S/S12, was shown at Versailles). To begin the display of glamorous gowns, sponsored by Swarovski, with a shining jewel-encrusted Chanel S/S12 piece was, in my eyes, perfect!
The second and main part of the exhibition featured over 100 pieces from the late-1800s to the present day. I wasn't able to take any photos of these, but I did sketch those that stood out to me: two being the amazing pleated frill Worth cape and Christian Dior 1952 "Palmyre" dress with it's mind-boggling pleats and panels under beautiful jewel embellishment.
The pieces here were almost all from the Musée Galliera collection, used while the Musée was being refurbished. I'm sorry that I didn't share this earlier - it was such a fantastic exhibition that I found myself almost shouting at people that they had to go and see this! Sadly, it was only open March-June 2013, however the Musée Galliera reopened yesterday, and I am sure these fantastic fashion treasures will feature prominently in their future exhibitions and displays.