Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 24, 2014

2 fabulous fashion exhibitions in Paris

I have been to Paris for a couple of days. I have friends there and an exhibition of Dries van Noten is currently on at Les Arts Decoratifs. He is one of my favourite designers, so a visit was required.

Paris exhibitions

Dries van Noten is one of the “Antwerp 6”, a group of influential avant garde fashion designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1981. Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee helped to establish Antwerp as a place for fashion design. Martin Margiela was a contemporary, but not part of the group.

Dries van Noten

Dries van Noten

The exhibition is a retrospective of Dries van Noten’s own designs and things that have inspired his work, including earlier designers…Balenciaga and Dior, art, interesting people and his own magnificent home and garden.

Photos were not allowed and I tried to behave, but several others pulled out their cameras and I really wanted to remember what I had seen…I bought the book too. Here is a sneaky look at some of the exhibition.


The second exhibition I attended was Paris Fashion from the 1950s. It is on in this gorgeous building, Palais Galliera. The garden alone made the visit worthwhile.

Drawn from the Palais Galliera collection and sporting the labels of the most famous couturiers, Jacques Heim, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques  Griffey, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin, the remarkable pieces making up this exhibition retrace the evolution of the female form through the decade 1947 – 1957: from the birth of the New Look to the death of Christian Dior and the advent of Yves Saint Laurent.

The clothes and accessories are stunning. My favourite area was beachwear from the 1950s. We could do with some of that glamour on our beaches right now.

Photos were not allowed and the exhibition was very crowded…so no photos.

Both exhibitions will finish soon. If you are in Paris try to get to both.

Palais Galliera

Les Arts Decoratifs


  1. Oh Deb fancy you getting to see one of our all time favourites Dries van Noten. Was Paul with you – he will be upset to miss that if he wasn’t there? Want want want that black and white dress right now – how good would that be for Melbourne Cup day -dream on.

    • Paul saw the exhibition earlier in the year. He told me about it. I got a cheap ticket with Ryan Air…absolutely awful…I won’t be doing that again.

      • I love the fashion but have had positive experiences of Ryanair

      • I’m sure Ryan Air can be OK, but Beauvais airport is miles from Paris, it took longer to get into Paris than to fly from Pisa, and it is a lousy airport. I certainly will never do it again. What you save on airfares you lose in taxi fares. I took the coach in from the airport, but it comes into an outside area in the city and it took forever to get where I needed to be.

  2. Beautiful photos, Deb! Glad to see that you enjoyed your trip… in spite of Ryanair. I have the feeling that there would be a few of us fighting over that black and white dress… although I would not mind a Jacques Fath vintage. He had exquisite taste. Unfortunately, he died too young…

    • The Jacques Fath dresses at the exhibition were gorgeous…and the Balenciaga…and many others.

  3. Thank heavens for sneaky photos! I believe Sonia Delaunay is also on exhibit in Paris at present! Wish I was there.

    • Yes, the exhibition for Sonia was opposite the 50s fashion, but I didn’t have time. Unfortunately you can’t do everything.

  4. I love fashion and modern art exhibitions!

  5. I greet and wish you a nice Sunday

    • Thank you. Your photos are beautiful.

  6. I love Dries Van Outen’s use of vibrant colours in his designs! What an amazing exhibition, Debra – lucky you to see it!! Thank you for sharing with us. We can only drool from afar….. the 1930s and the 1950s would be my favourite fashions eras. I agree, Debra, the 1950s swimsuit fashions are very flattering. Thankfully, some are coming back into fashion at our shops.

    • I am very happy to have been able to see the exhibition. He has been a favourite designer of mine for many years.

  7. Gorgeous Debra! Sorry I’ve been absent on reading your blog. Busy these days. I always love your gorgeous photos and collages. You are by far one of the best bloggers I read! 🙂

  8. I have been so lucky to find a secondhand coat by Dries van Noten, it is beautiful.
    What a pity the trip was a hassle. I do not like Ryan Air very much, I had a rotten flight with my mother. afterwards we found equally cheap European flights with tons better service.

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