Monday, June 26, 2017
We walked from our beautifully situated little apartment just off a corner of Luxembourg Gardens up past the restaurants of Montparnasse and turned onto a side street to the Musee Bourdelle to see the exhibition of fashion by famed Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga, who was a reigning couturier in Paris between 1937 and 1968 during the fashion golden age of haute couture.
The exhibition was staged by Paris fashion museum Palais Galliera in the museum of Antoine Bourdelle (1851-1929) who was a follower of Rodin. Accordingly, the museum is full of heroically sized bronze sculptures of that era. The Balenciaga dresses are staged in and around the monumental sculptures across several rooms of the museum--all to good effect.
Balenciaga was noted for his work in black, but what strikes the contemporary viewer is the cleanness of the lines and the overall modernity of the fashion. He established the modern standard for elegance The black accentuates the clarity of vision of the designer.
Fashion is a fascinating area in the larger world of art because it involves great vision combined with excellence in craft. Balenciaga rose to master seamstress before launching his own house in San Sebastian in 1919. Top couturiers drive hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, in retail sales around the world--so it has a big impact. Only a few metropolitan regions around the world have the industrial and commercial infrastructure to support a world-class, high-end fashion industry.
We previously saw several years ago a vast exhibition of work by Yves Saint Laurent at Le Petit Palais in Paris. A long line to get in and the exhibition was jammed, mostly with women of all ages, but a fascinating journey through the contemporary fashion with its beautiful styling and elegance of presentation.
We finished the afternoon with a late lunch on the terrasse of Le Select and watched Paris walk down the sidewalk in the summer sun.