It is necessary to look at the garments in the context of the time they were created, from the post-war times of fabric shortages to the later influence of Eastern motifs. Each separate mini gallery is a time capsule showcasing designers whose names live on in the world of high fashion.
The chronological display takes us through the decades from 1947 to 2014 and features iconic garments beautifully constructed in materials which are marvels of each designers imagination, from the beading and tulle of the 40s to the modern fabrications using leather, PVC and metal. Many of the items are almost sculptural in their realisation.
Short loop films projected onto the walls in each room remind us of the fabrics, silhouettes and styles of each period.
I would definitely recommend joining one of the guided tours. The volunteer guides are very well informed and you will find out details that really add to the overall experience. Which garments arrived already on the mannequins, as they are so delicate to transport? Which garment was actually worn by the Duchess of Windsor, herself a fashion icon and trendsetter of her time?
Designers featured include the household names of haute couture including The 50s: Dior, Balenciaga, Balmain, Rochas The 60s: Grès, Paco Rabanne, Chanel, Cardin, Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Givenchy, Michèle Rosier, Emilio Pucci The 70s: Jacques Estérel, Pierre Cardin, Courrèges, Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana, Guy Laroche, Jean Muir, Bruce et Chantal Thomass, Emanuel Ungaro, Kenzo Jap, Karl Lagerfeld pour Chloé, Pierre Balmain, Sonia Rykiel, Issey Miyake The 80s: Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Patrick Kelly, Popy Moreni, Anne Marie Beretta, Yohji Yamamoto, Jacqueline Jacobson, Emanuel Ungaro, Comme des Garçons, Karl Lagerfeld pour Chanel The 90s: Patrick Kelly, Montana pour Lanvin, John Galliano pour Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld pour Chanel, Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang, Véronique Branquinho, John Galliano, Dries van Noten, Karl Lagerfeld pour Chanel, Vivienne Westwood 2000s: Alexander McQueen pour Givenchy, Olivier Theyskens, Christian Lacroix, Helmut Lang, Alber Elbaz pour Lanvin, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino,Yohji Yamamoto, Hedi Slimane pour Yves Saint Laurent
Installation view Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Art Gallery of South Australia, 25 October 2014 - 15 February 2015
Each garment has a photo of a model or celebrity wearing it as well as information about the designer and garment itself, the fabrics used and date of creation.
Photography is not allowed inside the exhibition. Allow at least two hours to view the exhibition in its entirety. Fashionistas can run the gauntlet of the paparazzi at the end of the exhibition. A small bookshop is also located at the exit.
Tickets are available at the gallery entrance or online. Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the collection of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris is now showing at the Art Gallery of South Australia on North Terrace until 15th February.