300 Years of Fashion is a treat

Until August 14th the exhibition Fashion Forward, 3 Centuries of Fashion (1715-2016) is on display in the Nave at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Whether a fashion follower, historian, designer, textile expert, craftsperson, interested amateur or any combination of these; the exhibition is a treat. The clothing exhibits are out on display, not behind glass, which allows a close and appreciative look at details like embroidery and pleating. (No touching though!)



Highlights – the mesmerising video clips of dancers from the Opéra de Paris disrobing layer by layer from the encumbrances of thankfully long gone fashion accessories…..


……and the wonderful painted wax fashion dolls from the 1910s. The French fashion house Henry a la Pensée used these dolls as mini-mannequins to show designs from their retail range.

Fabrics and decorative items of the times add to the sense of fashion in context for each era.

Do you know the name for this fabric ?


In French it’s pied de poule – chicken’s foot, or pied de coq – rooster’s foot. In English it’s houndstooth.

Knitting inspiration?

I’m a fan of Vivienne Westwood’s tartan mohair leg warmers (winter 1995-6).


Practical details and tips:

Musée des Arts Decoratifs, entrance on rue de Rivoli near the Louvre.

Full price ticket €15 for the permanent collection and all the current special exhibitions in the Nave. I went to Fashion Forward and also quickly through the Barbie exhibition (on until 18th September), which was most enjoyable, and the Tissus Inspirés; Pierre Frey (finishes 12 June).

Full price ticket for the Nave only (the special exhibitions area) is €11, or the permanent collection only is €11. There are concession prices, see website for details of how these apply.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 6pm (9pm Thursdays some exceptions, see website).

The Musée des Arts Decoratifs is not one of the museums offering free entry on the first Sunday of the month.



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