In Paris? Discover the fashion side of the Louvre

Did you know that the Louvre actually hosted a fashion related museum ? Yes, the Musées des Arts Décoratifs will quench your thirst for fashionable clothes, jewelry or home decoration. Planning a trip to Paris soon ? I have the perfect exhibition for you !  “Tenue correcte exigée : quand le vêtement fait scandale”  will show you that 1 the struggle to be free to wear whatever we like is not new and 2 it is far from over yet ! You might have seen your fair share of clothes exhibits but this one is worth the trip : amusing, thought provoking, cleverly displayed… You could go with your feminist girlfriends, your unwilling husband or even your 10 year old kid it will still be a success ! Follow the guide…


Nobody’s young after 40 but you can be irresistible at any age

The exhibit starts with a Gabrielle Chanel quote, reminding you that before becoming fashion “classics”, Coco, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gautier and the likes started as fashion outcasts putting fashion standards upside down and shocking a great deal of people of their time.


An incredible insect dress by Thierry Mugler : a personal favorite of mine

And they were not the firsts ! The Arts Décoratifs museum uses some of its most striking pieces to demonstrate that from the 16th century to today, you can find recurring Fashion mavericks, ready to try crazy stuff.


Too short, too long, see through…

It seem that in reality, the cowl DOES make the monk : we have always been judged on our appearances and the clothes we select as “second skins” are often what people use to judge us. Especially if you are a woman, but not exclusively. This might be no news to you but it can go very far. For example, did you know that the official reason to burn Joan of Arc was because she dared to put back on her man’s clothes ?


In 19th century Europe, you have to wear 4 to 5 different outfits a day, and those who strays from this path will be severely told off !

The clever idea of this exhibit is to put together clothes from different eras to make us understand why those clothes were so daring at the time. The link between a 2000’s baggy jean and huge knee-length bloomers of the 16th century? Both were considered a fashion faux pas at the time. By tapping into what we know of our time and applying it to other centuries, we are able to understand how contemporaries felt… And to make our own opinion !

n the same showcase : an Empire dress (too sheer), an 18th c “Robe à l’anglaise” (too much cleavage), a 20th century black dress (too low in the back)
Just after French Revolution, the “merveilleuses”  girls in France (wonderful) would wear skin tight, super transparent white dresses… For the enjoyment of cartoonists of the time !  
That’s what you call cleavage ! As you can see in the portrait behind, they were not nipple-shy at the time (I am looking at you Janet Jackson). Yet to be fair, you did not wear JUST the dress, a lot of underwear completed the look and would have hidden most of “it” from direct view. In a “pick a boo” style if you like.

Even if it is general practice where I live in the Silicon Valley, I guess hoodies are not your grand mama’s favorite (Not you Mamie, but are one of a kind 😉 : thug life, unchic… Well it was already the case in middle ages : King of France Charles the 6th bans it from 14th century France. Well whatever “France” looked like at the time I guess, a couple of acres around Paris probably. It was judged to easy an attire to hide behind. See nothing new really.

A couple of “flapper” dresses from the twenties / thirties. We call it “à la Garçonne” in French, meaning “boy like”

During you visit, each showcase will also show you what the official style was like. IT hence very easy to compare the two.

Hunting costumes, about the only time women could wear slightly more practical, man inspired clothes

You will use all of your senses in this exhibition: as you enter, your ears will be attacked by common clothes critics french people would voice. yes fashion IS a violent world…

Conclusion ?

Ok we are French, we live and breathe for Fashion and fancy looking food (cliché anyone ?). And yet recently I heard of certain president making a point of having “properly attired” women at the white house… Well let’s say the fight is not over yet….

The exhibition is until the 23rd of April only so hurry !

What about you, which one of those “scandalous attires” would you wear today ?

La bise


Un avis, une question? A vous le micro !