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It’s a sign of the times - men are sharing the fashion spotlight. At both the Chanel and Lacroix shows earlier this month, the women’s Ready-to-Wear collections were interspersed with men’s pieces. At Dior and Givenchy, Hedi Slimane and Ozwald Boateng, respectively, have been entrusted with creating a new masculine interpretation of the label. Never has the male body (pierced, tattooed, adorned or nude) been exhibited with so much pride.

So for the first time in history, the Musée de la Mode et du Textile, the sacred space dedicated to Paris fashion, has been given over to an exhibition focusing exclusively on men’s apparel from the seventeenth century straight through to the runways of today. The peacock plumes unfold in the majestic embroideries of the court of Louis IV and in the billowing skirts of Jean Paul Gaultier.

The traditional masculine wardrobe, that of tailcoats, redingotes, sport coats and tuxedos was born after the French revolution. If the classic three piece suit filled an excessively monotonous period from the Second Empire on, it was the 1960s that saw artistic renewal led by Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges. But you have to wait for the last decade to find the panache of modernity on the runway at Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.

More than three hundred suits and accessories, accompanied by graphic documents and albums of samples, were gathered to put in perspective the art of ornamenting the male body.

The exhibition will run until April 30, 2006

Les Arts Décoratifs - musée de la Mode et du Textile
107 rue de Rivoli - 75001 Paris
Tél. : 01 44 55 57 50
Métro : Palais-Royal, Pyramides ou Tuileries





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