The Musée Bourdelle on Paris’s Left Bank, is hosting, from July 5 to November 17, 2019, the exhibition “Back Side / Fashion from Behind,” curated by the Palais Galliera. The installation will seek to question the “perception we have of our own and other people’s backs” through a series of clothing, sculptures, photographs, accessories, and films.
The least visible — and accessible — part of our own bodies, the back nonetheless continues to fascinate fashion designers, be it via the open back, the wealth of possible closers, trains, messages and patterns that continue to ornament our other side. It is a paradox, considering that these decorations on T-shirts, jackets, and evening gowns aren’t even destined to be seen by those who will be wearing the garments.
Visitors to the “Back Side / Fashion from Behind” exhibition will be led to question the relation of the body with our garments, whether from a purely aesthetic, social, or psychological point of view. The installation is grouped thematically using creations dating back to the 18th century to our current era.
The journey begins at the Great Hall of Plasters with five contemporary looks facing (or backing up to) imposing statues. Visitors will be able to take in the back of a Spring-Summer 2018 Givenchy Haute Couture design by Clare Waight Keller (bodice, skirt and belt) recently worn by Cate Blanchett, as well as an evening dress from The Row’s Spring-Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection.
The following themes highlight a number of issues that question human anatomy and its metamorphosis, the notion of the perfect back, language related to the back, ornaments and other volumes placed on the body part, and the back as a symbol of submission.
The role of the backpack and other loads worn on the back, the exposed back, backs that carry messages, as well as winged backs, are also an integral part of the exhibition, which also features a series of black and white photographs taken by Jeanloup Sieff from the 1960s to the 1990s.
“Back Side / Fashion from Behind” runs from July 5 November 17, 2019 at the Musée Bourdelle in Paris.