Photo of the Week


The Louvre lights up. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Hélène Angel's Primaire. Cinéma Le Brady, Paris, Feb. 24

Virtual reality on show
> Virtuality will host speakers and networking sessions on this hot topice. Centquatre, Paris, Feb. 24-26.

Contemporary textile art
>Miniartextil is an exhibition of new textiles from around the world. Le Beffroi, Montrouge, Feb. 22-March 19.

A barnyard in Paris

> The Salon International de l'Agriculture brings the best of the country's livestock and crops and the products made from them to Paris. Porte de Versailles, Paris, Feb. 25-March 5.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, March 1-April 13.

Paris semi-marathon
> Starts and ends on the Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, March 5.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Matthew Lancit's Flâneurs (Street Rambles). Cinéma MacMahon, Paris, March 3.

Literary conversations
> The festival New Writings, New Styles brings well-known Irish and French writers together to discuss contemporary literature in the two countries. Irish Cultural Centre, Paris, March 3-4.

Indian film scene
> The festival India Express takes a tour of new and classic films focusing on the subcontinent’s major cities. Forum des Images, Paris, through Feb. 26.

Young European photographers
> The Festival Circulation(s) features emerging photographers. Centquatre, Paris, through March 5.

Frank Capra Retrospective
> The great American director in the spotlight. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Feb. 27.


Art - Temporary Exhibitions


Tenue Correcte Exigée: Quand le Vêtement Fait Scandale

Shock and Awe:
Fashion Rebels

Paris-Update-TenueCorrectExigee-MuseeArtsDecoratifs-9- Incroyables et Merveilleuses

Alexis Chataignier: “Ah, quelle antiquité !!! Oh ! quelle folie que la nouveauté...” 1797, Paris © BNF

Visitors to “Tenue Correcte Exigée: Quand le Vêtement Fait Scandale” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs are greeted with insults in many languages splashed like graffiti on the walls: “What’s that you’re wearing? A sack?” “Fashion faux pas!” “Don’t you have a mirror at home?” “Did you forget your skirt?” Then the same insults are shouted at them over a loudspeaker as they contemplate their reflection while passing through a mirror-lined hallway.

All this would lead one to expect an exhibition with an iconoclastic presentation, maybe something like the Jean Paul Gaultier show at the Grand Palais a couple of years ago, with its flashy displays and talking mannequins. Nothing of the sort. The presentation couldn’t be more classic: this is a walk through the history of fashion taboos and dos and don’ts, all nicely displayed on headless mannequins in glass cases in the museum’s dark, cramped rooms. (I’m tired of complaining about this, but once again, the labels are in small print and placed on the floor – how convenient!).

It’s a great topic, however, and there is much to enjoy in this in-depth exploration of fashion and how it evolves in fits and starts: a new style is considered shocking, scandalous, revolting, immoral, defiant, even incendiary, and is at first reviled or banned; it is eventually accepted before becoming widespread, then seen as old-hat and replaced by the next outrageous new thing.

One example is the 15th-century shoes called poulaines (crakows in English) because they supposedly originated in Poland. With their ridiculously pointy, elongated tips, they made walking difficult (perhaps a sign of prestige,


The sabataons of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, c. 1485. Photo: Lorenz Heimshmied.

as were the bound feet of Chinese women? Or was it simply phallic?) and were at first considered diabolical. They eventually became popular enough to appear even on armor, as shown in the exhibition.

Even queens (the royal kind) could be iconoclastic, the most famous example being Marie Antoinette’s scandalously flimsy and simple muslin dresses, considered the equivalent of wearing underwear in public, which itself was popularized by another female icon, Madonna, in the 1980s.

On this subject, the show includes a legion of examples, illustrated with clothing, photos, illustrations, video and film: women wearing

Paris-Update-TenueCorrectExigee-MuseeArtsDecoratifs-17 Marlene-Dietrich-in-Morocco 1930

Marlene Dietrich in Berlin, 1930. © Eugene Robert Richee

men’s clothing (not just Joan of Arc and George Sand, but many others through the centuries who sought the freedom of movement denied them by most women’s styles) and more recently the zoot suit, the monokini, the miniskirt, skirts for men, pants for women, torn and safety-pinned punk

Paris-Update-TenueCorrectExigee-MuseeArtsDecoratifs-20 hoodie

A hoodie, around 2010. © Shutterstock

clothing, sagging trousers, hoodies and so on.

The other side of the coin is also explored: the correct dress in different times and places, e.g., for the court of Louis XIV’s Versailles.

The exhibition starts with a 16th-century painting of the naked Adam and Eve by the workshop of Lucas Cranach, so it is only

Paris-Update-TenueCorrectExigee-MuseeArtsDecoratifs-11- Cranach Adam and Eve

The fig leaf was all the rage in Adam and Eve’s time, already in different versions for male and female. “Adam and Eve” (first half of the 14th century), by the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder. Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs

appropriate that it should end with one of Rick Owens’ peekaboo men’s tunics that let it all

Paris-Update-TenueCorrectExigee-MuseeArtsDecoratifs-4 Rick Owens

From the Rick Owens men’s ready-to-ear show, 2015 © Guy Marineau

hang out. Now, that’s iconoclastic! For the moment, anyway...

Heidi Ellison

Musée des Arts Décoratifs: 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (wheelchair access: 105, rue de Rivoli). Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. Tel : 01 44 55 57 50. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (until 9pm on Thursday). Admission: €11. Through April 23, 2017.

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