Anatomy of a collection

Anatomy of a Collection: A New Exhibition Features Clothes from Betty Catroux and Marie Antoinette

The French know fashion isn’t just about a label–it’s an attitude. And so, “Anatomy of a Collection,” a new exhibition at Palais Galliera open through October 23, showcases a selection of French-designed garments worn by the most fashionable women from the 18th century to the present day, such as the British actress Audrey Hepburn and Yves Saint Laurent muse Betty Catroux. From a corset belonging to Marie-Antoinette from 1785, which was preserved like a relic between the pages of an accounts book by Madame Eloffe, a fashion supplier to the French queen, to a flower sheath designed by Rei Kawakubo for the Comme des Garçons Spring 2012 “White Drama” collection, the exhibition is a testimonial of the past three centuries of Parisian fashion moments. “We hear so much about brands today. I wanted this show to tell fashion’s story through the women who wear the clothes,” says Olivier Saillard, curator of the exhibition and Palais Galliera’s director. “As Issey Miyake once said: ‘A design is fifty percent done done when it leaves the atelier and one hundred percent complete when it’s on a woman’s back.'”

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