Paris fashion week exhibitions, September 12 2006

Paris is rivalling London with a fantastic array of autumn exhibitions and a couple of new museum openings too. WGSN highlights the season’s best shows to see during Paris Fashion Week (October 1-9, 2006).

WGSN urges you to step away from the catwalks or take a break from the trade shows and be inspired by the city’s other creative side.

Any fashionista worth their Mini Twiggy bag will be heading straight to the Balenciaga display at Musée de la Mode et du Textile in the Louvre. Known as the king of craftsmanship, this exhibition reveals an unexpectedly frivolous side to the master couturier according to our man in Paris, Mark Tungate.

WGSN took one look at the long queue to get into Marilyn: Les Dernier Séances at the Musee Maillol and thought again, but our love of Marilyn – and in this case an “imperfect” Marilyn – was too great to resist. These 59 photographs document the last 12-hour photographic sessions before her death, taken by Vogue photographer Bert Stern. Nude and with no make-up on her body, these are fragile images of a glamorous icon.

Yves Klein is an omnipresent figure on the exhibition circuit but it’s time to look again at the high priest of colour. We were lucky enough to catch a mesmerising exhibition of his work in Sydney a few years back, where the burning light of the southern hemisphere supercharged his saturated blue, pink and gold canvases.

We didn’t know there was so much to see in a single tone and were so impressed we even bought the IKB blue (International Klein Blue) nail varnish set from the museum’s gift shop. If you’re not already converted to the “church of Klein”, head to the Pompidou for a visual epiphany.

We’re big fans of Picasso too here at WGSN – those warped portraits and disproportionate sculptures somehow make us feel a little bit more “together” in comparison. But on a less superficial note, collector and Modernist connoisseur Heinz Berggruen’s collections of Picasso’s work on show at the Musée Picasso is one of the most important private collections in the world.

While at the Musée Picasso, also catch the eerie yet fascinating display of X-rays of Picasso’s bulbous sculptures, which reveal thin, wiry skeletons trapped inside.

If only all stories started with “Once upon a time…” and finished with a “happily ever after”. Walt Disney’s story certainly did and an exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais reveals the unexpectedly high-brow and very European genesis of his studio’s now all-American cartoon creations. You’ll never be able to look at Snow White in the same way again…

Finally, there are a few reopenings and revamps to catch up on. Love it or hate it, the new Musée de Quai Branly is a bizarrely fascinating museum dedicated to non-Western cultures.

There’s a reason for Claude Monet’s mass appeal and we’re not shy about admitting our love of his classic images of water lilies – Les Nymphéas. Bathed in natural light as the painter intended, these shimmering waterscapes by the French Impressionist are back on public display at the renovated Orangerie Museum. Sit or swoon in this dreamy display.

Cristofle, Lalique, Corbusier… these are just a few of the illustrious designers whose work is on show in the revamped Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Design fans shouldn’t miss the chance to overdose on the movers, shakers and shapers of French style and taste over the centuries.


Musée de la Mode et du Textile

Fondation Dina Vierny
Musée Maillol

Centre Pompidou

Musée Picasso

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Musée du Quai Branly

Monet’s “Les Nymphéas”
Musée de l’Orangerie

Marilyn: Les Dernier Séances at the Musée Maillol

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