May 13, 2021

Olivier Saillard on Reinventing the Fashion Museum

THE GREAT EXHIBITION: Olivier Saillard’s new exhibition, “The Ephemeral Museum of Fashion,” on show at the Costume Gallery of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence through October 22, may not be here to stay but the Parisian curator hopes it will have a lasting impact on the approach to fashion museums in Italy and beyond.
The poetic show unites rare pieces from the Palazzo Pitti’s collections as well as the Palais Galliera in Paris that Saillard directs, combining historical costumes and vintage designer gowns with contemporary creations on loan from Italian, French, Belgian and Japanese houses.
Spread throughout a series of the palazzo’s richly decorated rooms, the pieces are grouped into themes. Highlights include “Dust, Color, Time,” presenting creations including an exquisite 1911 Mariano Fortuny silk plissé gown and a 1966 couture wedding dress by Madame Grès whose hues and textiles have been affected — for better or for worse — by contact with dust.
In “Clothes, Hanging, Waiting,” a row of outerwear pieces ranging from an early-1900s dust coat to a 1990 cage jacket by Jean Paul Gaultier hung from coat pegs, while in a room titled “The Dresses of Oblivion” an ivory silk crepe Madeleine Vionnet dress from 1933 is on display for

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