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Rear view: Paris exhibition celebrates fashion from behind

Rear view: Paris exhibition celebrates fashion from behind

‘Dos à la Mode’ presents the sensual, witty and message-bearing potential of clothes rear angles, backwards-turned stone sculptures

For S / S 2019, Paris' 79 official fashion shows presented 3,524 silhouettes – and their accompanying catwalk images showed a single view of the back of a garment. "And that’s just Paris," says Alexandre Samson, director of haute couture and contemporary fashion at the Palais Galliera, and the curator of ‘Dos à la Mode’, an exhibition dedicated to the rear angle of clothing. The show is held at the Bourdelle Museum in Paris' Montparnasse district while the Palais Galliera undergoes an extensive renovation. "Imagine adding London, New York and Milan to that," Samson adds. "Our vision of fashion has become so instant we have taken longer for the closer look. It’s counterproductive. We’re doing a major disservice to fashion, we’re consuming it badly. "

With this off-site exhibition, Samson explores sensual, witty and message-bearing potential of clothes when viewed from behind, and the back's potential for seduction and expression. Bourdelle's monumental stone sculptures are displayed for the breathtaking backdrop of many.

Silhouettes are dramatically explored – the romantic back, illustrated by Balenciaga and Gaultier evening gowns with sinuous silk flowing trains; the ethereal back, with winged creations by Thierry Mugler; the bondage back, with corsets laced behind by Gaultier or ruched by Schiaparelli; the sculpted back, with Yohji Yamamoto's delicate origami folds and Rei Kawakubo's seminal ‘Body Meet Dress, Dress Meet Body’ gingham bustles for Comme des Garçons.

"Our vision of fashion has become so instant we have taken longer for the closer look. It’s counterproductive. "

The erotic back is well-represented, with Yves Saint Laurent's LBD with its plunging back décolleté veiled in black lace, Helmut Lang's keyhole cleft-revealing, and the sensational full-length black Guy Laroche gown, which revealed the top curve of Mireille Darc's buttocks in 'Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire' (1972).

The exhibition also features black and white photographs from Jeanloup Sieff's "Back is Beautiful" photographic series, and images of the aforemention S / S 2019 Paris Fashion Week runways. It concludes with Melanie Trump's controversial "I really don't care u?" Green Zara parka.

But for Samson, the pièce de résistance is John Galliano's black and white "Sheath Closed by 51 Buttons". "In 2019, we’re claiming equality exists between the sexes. This dress – beautiful though it is – shows the aberration of this claim, 'he says. "It reminds us that the woman's role is as object, completely dependent, even being dressed. Imagine a man’s tuxedo being fastened like this. Historically, the only item of male clothing that fastens from behind is the straitjacket. '

. (tagsToTranslate) Paris exhibitions

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