In October 2013, the National Center for Stage Costume was enriched with a new permanent space dedicated to the Nureyev Collection. In order to celebrate this event and crown seven years of existence, the CNCS wishes to shine the spotlight on its collections. Spotlight on the collections is for the public the opportunity to discover or rediscover some of the most beautiful showcases from previous exhibitions and, for the CNCS, the pretext to reveal some secrets about its collections.
The fabulous fate of the stage costume
Often only a memory remains of the spectacle. Souvenir of an opera aria, a pas de deux, a set of actors, a rich or minimalist decor and sumptuous or refined costumes. Material heritage of shows , sets and costumes are often the only tangible traces that remind us, months or even years later, of a performance. Some of them are kept at the CNCS and regain, during an exhibition, all their brilliance.
Spotlight on the collections is a pretext to tell the multiple lives of the costume, on stage and off stage, from its genesis in the imagination of the costume designer to its celebration in the windows of the CNCS.
Spotlight on exhibitions
Chosen among the most emblematic exhibitions – Bêtes de scène (2006), Christian Lacroix, costume designer (2007), The Thousand and One Nights (2008), Au Fil des fleurs (2009), Russian Operas (2009), Vestiaire de divas ( 2010), The art of costume at the Comédie-Française (2011), L’Envers du décor (2012) and, as a highlight as well as an echo to the Nureyev Collection, the “Bayadère” room of the Rudolf Nureyev exhibition(2009) -, each exhibition space deals with one of the aspects of the life of the stage costume. The CNCS also wishes to shed light on the trades linked to the realization of an exhibition: from the selection of costumes among the treasures of the collections and modeling techniques, through the scenography and the exhibition management …
Spotlight on collections
In 1995, the Ministry of Culture and Communication initiated the opening of the National Center for Stage Costume , a new museum devoted to the physical heritage of theaters , and more specifically to stage costumes . This desire follows the awareness of theaters and live performance professionals of the necessary museum preservation and conservation of these objects, designed by generations of costume designers and manufactured by craftsmen with specialized know-how.
Opened in July 2006 in Moulins en Auvergne, the CNCS is the first museum in the world dedicated to costumes and stage sets . Once their career on stage is over, some of the costumes deemed of patrimonial interest from the Opéra national de Paris, the Comédie-Française and many French theaters or companies, arrive in this place for a second life, during which they are preserved, studied and exhibited.
Addressed in filigree during previous temporary exhibitions, creation, manufacture in the sewing workshops, backstage alterations and stage games are this time the main theme of Spotlight on the collections. In addition, this retrospective reveals the professions and behind the scenes of the CNCS: identification and inventory, preventive conservation and conditioning in reserves, restoration and valuation of the costume. Thus, the CNCS wishes to answer the essential questions linked to the genesis of its collections, the life of the costume within its walls and its status as a heritage object.
Images courtesy of Centre National du Costume de Scene