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Dressing the Opera, Costumes and workshops of the Paris Opera

Start Date 25 May 2019
End Date 03 November 2019
Venue Centre National du Costume et de la Scène
Location Moulins, France
Curator Martine Kahane and Delphine Pinasa
Designer Alain Batifoulier and Simon de Tovar

Statement from curators, Martine Kahane and Delphine Pinasa:

“This highlighting of the history of costume, costume designers and couture workshops at the Paris Opera is the way to recall the importance of this sector of scenography and the excellence of those who are in charge of it. The links between the CNCS and the Paris Opera are numerous and close. From the start of the project, the Opera had been involved in building up a heritage fund of around 5,000 costumes and costume elements, all of which were deposited at the CNCS. They were joined there by the deposits granted by the National Library of France and the Comédie-Française. The link between these three founding institutions of the CNCS is stronger than the mere contribution of collections, all three share the same quality requirement and the same concern for mediation and pedagogy. This first collection has been regularly enriched with new pieces from the downgrading of productions, selected by mutual agreement by the Costume Department of the Opera and that of the CNCS. This collection, whose oldest pieces date from the second half of the 19th century, is very diverse in its styles, magnificent in terms of its creators and its execution. Presented chronologically, punctuated by the major stages in the history of the institution, the “Dressing the Opera” exhibition traces the evolution of the aesthetics of costume at the Opera over nearly two centuries. From the first costume exhibition at the Palais Garnier in 1995, then practically at each of the 27 exhibitions presented at the CNCS since its opening, the Ateliers de couture de l’Opéra have been major contributors whose know-how has been questioned to write a few the story bit by bit. This exhibition and the study that accompanies it are a major step in the constitution of this memory, a testimony of the deep attachment that unites the two institutions.”