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Parisian Galliera fashion museum, Palais Galliera, reopens on October 2020

Parisian Galliera fashion museum reopens on October 1, 2020.

The fashion museum of the city of Paris closed in October 2018 for important extension. Inauguration of the building takes place beginning October 2020 when the retrospective of legendary Gabrielle Chanel opens.

1 Août 2020 - 11:45

Palais Galliera©GM
Palais Galliera©GM

Evolution of Palais Galliera

The museum’s name and location are due to Genoese Marie Brignole Sale, born in April 1811. In 1828 the aristocrat married Marquis Raphaël de Ferrari, known as the Duke of Galliera, scion of a powerful Genoese family. Travelling between Italy and France, the couple acquired huge estates, constantly adding to their exquisite art collection.

After the duke died in 1876, his widow intended to donate their art collection to the French state, in a building to be constructed on the Galliera estate. The signed notarial decree of July 1878 mistakenly specified that both be bequeathed to the City of Paris. Disliking the building conceived by French architect Ginain, she bestowed the art collection to Palazzo Rosso in Genoa. After the duchess died in 1888, Galliera Palace successively found different purposes.

in 1977, the museum baptized 'Musée de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris' invested the premises. Under director Madeleine Delpierre the museum inherited the collections of costumes and accessories preserved at Carnavalet Museum. The collections and restoration workshops occupied the basement of the building. Guillaume Garnier took over as director in 1985. In 1989 Catherine Join-Diéterle succeeded him. Later the restoration workshops and collections moved to a more spacious site.

The museum was renamed ‘Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris' in 1997. In 2010 noted fashion historian Olivier Saillard replaced Join-Diéterle as director and began restoring the museum. During the interim, Saillard introduced a program of exhibitions outside the museum in France and abroad. In September 2013, the museum reopened, now named ‘Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville Paris’, but plans for further extension were planned in October 2018. The same year Spanish fashion historian Miren Arzalluz took over the direction of Palais Galliera.

Gabrielle Chanel 1923©D'Ora
Gabrielle Chanel 1923©D'Ora

‘Gabrielle Chanel, a Fashion Manifesto’

Curated and conceived by the director of Palais Galliera, Miren Arzalluz and Véronique Belloir, responsible for the collections, the first Parisian retrospective of Chanel’s ‘oeuvre’ 'Gabrielle Chanel, a Fashion Manifesto' is supervised by artistic director Olivier Saillard. Patronized by the House of Chanel, the show will inaugrate the refurbished museum.

The exhibition covers 1500m2, including the newly opened basement galleries. Comprising more than 350 pieces from Palais Galliera itself, plus Chanel collections from international museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museo de la Moda in Santiago de Chile, the MoMU in Antwerp, besides private collections, the manifesto reveals the timeless chic of Chanel’s universe with its stylish, sleek forms.

Gabrielle Chanel and Suzy Parker, 1959©Richard Avedon
Gabrielle Chanel and Suzy Parker, 1959©Richard Avedon

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel known as Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

When Paul Poiret dominated women’s fashion in France, Gabrielle Chanel began her career with a modest boutique in Deauville, moving to Biarritz and finally Paris. The founder and namesake of the Chanel brand was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur.

Credited in the post-World War I era with liberating women from the constraints of the ‘corseted silhouette’, Chanel introduced sporty, casual chic as an alternative standard of feminine style, revolutionizing the world of haute couture. Gabrielle Chanel changed the perception of body images of women who favored her supple, simple suits using materials such as jersey and tweed, later incorporating little black dresses, and sporty models of the Roaring Twenties before the sophisticated dresses of the 1930s. She emerged as a female dandy, who tailored practical garments adapting the comfort, the functionality, the restraint and the elegance of the male wardrobe for women. The outfits were always superbly finished with impressive attention to detail as befitting a great seamstress.

Gabrielle Chanel avoided unnecessary decoration, emphasizing balance and a harmonious overall effect. Her palette was subtle and delicate, and although dominated by shades of white and beige, it also included more intense notes of midnight blue and strong red, or even black offset by white.
In the late 1930s Coco Chanel invested the now mythical site of 31, Rue de Cambon in Paris which she was forced to close during World War II. After the war and the advent of Christian Dior’s New Look emphasizing the corseted silhouette Chanel so intensely disliked, Madame Chanel reopened her ‘maison de couture’ in 1954 on the same premises. Here she created the modern version of her haute couture with great flair, overcoming the initial reluctance of clients on both sides of the Atlantic to adopt her quintessential style until her death in 1971.

Throughout her prolific fashion career, Chanel extended her influence beyond couture clothing, translating her design aesthetics into costume and fine jewellery, accessories such as hand bags or shoes and even fragrance. Her signature scent Chanel No. 5 became an iconic product like most of her creations.

Coco Chanel in her Ritz apartment©Kollar, RMN, France
Coco Chanel in her Ritz apartment©Kollar, RMN, France

Exhibition layout

The first section is chronological, recounting her early beginnings with a few emblematic pieces. Ten photo portraits of Gabrielle Chanel accompany the ten chapters of the exhibition proving how the couturière herself was the embodiment of her brand. Chanel devoted her long life to perfecting a novel kind of chic based on freedom of movement, a natural, relaxed attitude promoting subtle elegance and discarding extravagance.

The second part of the exhibition is themed where visitors may decipher her dress codes such as the braided tweed suit, two-tone pumps, the 2.55 quilted bag, in black and beige, but also red, white and gold, together with the costume and fine jewellery intrinsic to the Chanel look. Numerous new galleries lead fashion connoisseurs through these stages of her creativity.

Mots-clés de l'article : musée, palais galliera

Kunang Helmi-Picard
Fatma Kunang Helmi was born in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Education in Switzerland, Australia and... En savoir plus sur cet auteur

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