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Modes ! À la ville, à la scène
(Modes! To the city, to the stage)

Start Date 08 April 2017
End Date 17 September 2017
Venue Centre National du Costume de Scene
Location Moulins, France
Curator Catherine Join-dieterle and Sylvie Richoux
Designer Alain Batifoulier and Simon De Tovar

Worth, Poiret, Lanvin, Chanel, Balmain, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Lacroix… so many big names who have marked the history of fashion but also that of the theater.
With Modes! In town and on stage, the Center national du costume de scène presents the intersection between the history of fashion and that of stage costume, from the 18th century to the present day. Through more than 130 costumes from the collections of the CNCS and major fashion museums, the course offers a real panorama of the evolution of the female figure on stage as in the city.
It is also an opportunity to cross the ages alongside the costumes of women – artists, actresses, dancers – who have become real icons such as Sarah Bernhardt, Cléo de Mérode, Madeleine Renaud, or Isabelle Huppert.

“Stage costumes and street costumes do not serve the same purposes. In the theater, the costume approach is threefold. It underlines the characteristics, designates the role, fits into the atmosphere of the work, while having a code loaded with meanings. In the city, he dresses his owner with or without ostentation, signifying his social affiliation. This exhibition does not seek to compare the history of these two modes of expression over three centuries but to highlight the moments when their articulation makes sense and the birth of new processes. »Catherine JOIN-DIETERLE, curator of the exhibition

Upon entering the exhibition, the visitor is greeted by costumes, drawings and models (Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Lacroix, Jean-Pierre Capeyron) testimonies of the reciprocal influences between fashion and theater which, since the Ancien Régime, have made costume stage the fashion innovations laboratory. Through a rich chronological journey of 13 rooms, the visitor crosses three centuries of history to discover costumes with various inspirations. In the 18th century, classicism and exoticism reigned supreme, while 100 years later, Romanticism led to the Renaissance style becoming fashionable and from 1900, couturiers such as Jeanne Lanvin and Paul Poiret were considerably influenced by Diaghilev’s Russian Ballets.
During this time, the theater costumers, because of the demands of the actresses, design in their workshops, costumes inspired by fashion. These mutual influences have often played an important role as with the negligee which illustrates, from the 18th century, the arrival of contemporary clothes on stage.

The exhibition also emphasizes the key role of actresses. From the end of the 1880s, the actress, the couturier and the fashion newspaper formed a powerful trio. Icons like Sarah Bernhardt in the 19th century or Isabelle Huppert today offer great visibility to couturiers. This sales force continues today with the red carpets at major festivals and Fashion Week parades widely covered by the media. Finally, it is a new history of fashion seen by the stage costume which is proposed by way of final. Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romanticism, Belle Époque… All the great significant moments of the fashion / theater relationship are represented until the contemporary period.

Images courtesy of Centre National du Costume de Scene