Sunday, February 21, 2016


The exhibition - 
La Mode Retrouvee in Paris at Le Musee de la Mode - 
Palais Galliera until 20th of March 2016.

Part of the collection of Duchess Gerffulhe (1860-1952) is presented - Her aura and her influence from the end of the second empire to the roaring 20s captivated le-tout Paris whether it be in the political and economic or artistic realms.

Countess Greffulhe is a key figure to Le Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, parading in daring outfits and the one that inspired Marcel Proust for the character of The Duchess of Germantes. In Search of Lost Time (published between 1913-1927)

Her wardrobe reflects the extent of the expertise that reigned in Paris' haute couture ateliers. It reflects the talent and thoroughness of designers, art scholar cutting, and embroidery.

 Whether it was to help Wagner, or the Russians ballets to happen, to support the researches of Marie Curie, or Edouard Branly or defend captain Dreyfus and the popular front, the Countess Greffulhe is a fierce business women, coupled with being a passionate patron. 

Countess Greffulhe is also admired for her great beauty, her slender figure and eccentric elegance. One that inspired Marcel Proust's character in the Duchesse de Guermantes. She knew when, where and how to stage her appearances, fascinating the audience in her flights of tulle, chiffon and feathers. 

She allowed only a selected handful of artist or photographers such as Otto Wegener (author of the cover of the book and exhibition) or Paul Nadar to portray or photograph her, most had to wait decades - if never - before entering her closed set. This exhibition presents day and evening dresses, coats, and accessories by designers such Worth, Fortuny, Lanvin or Babani.

Definitely an inescapable invitation, for textile, cut and history fanatics, to discover the recovered fashion of this period, and to meet the woman of mind and unrivaled allure.

J'ai enfin vu hier (chez Mme de Wagram) la comtesse Greffulhe...Elle portait une coiffure d'une grâce polynésienne, et des orchidés mauves descendaient jusqu'a sa nuque...Elle est difficile à juger, sans doute parce que juger c'est comparer, et qu'aucun élément n'entre en elle qu'on ait pu voir chez aucune autre - ni même nulle part ailleurs. Mais tout le mystère de sa beauté est dans l'eclat, dans l'enigme surtout de ses yeux. Je n'ai jamais vu une femme aussi belle. Je ne me suis pas fait présenté à elle et ne demanderai cela pas même à me semble que j'eprouverais plutôt à lui parler un trouble douloureux.

I finally saw yesterday (at Madame de Wagram) Countess Greffulhe ... She wore a head piece of a Polynesian grace and purple orchids down to her neck ... It is difficult to judge, probably because judging would be comparing, and there isn't an element within her that one could see in any other - or even anywhere else. But the mystery of her beauty is in the brilliance, especially in the enigma of his eyes. I've never seen a woman as beautiful. I preferred not to be introduced to her and I won't ask this favor from you ... I think I would feel a painful disorder, were I to talk to her.

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