Vogue Paris, Celebrating a century of Elegance at the Fashion Museum of Paris

More than 1,007 covers later, Vogue Paris, the oldest French fashion magazine still in print, has always known how to differentiate itself by its audacity and its ability to renew itself. Founded by the American Condé Nast in 1920, the magazine celebrated its 100th birthday. The exhibition, delayed by a year because of Covid-19, is located at the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of Paris dedicated to the art and history of clothing and haute couture.

Exhibition poster Vogue Paris 1920-2020 ©Palais Galliera

Paris Vogue 1920-2020 is a sublime retrospective, recounting the history of the magazine through archives including more than 400 illustrations, photographs, films and documents as well as haute couture designer creations. In the magazine, Paris is depicted as the epicentre of cultural and artistic life. The figure of the Parisian woman, synonymous with elegance, represents the embodiment of Vogue women.

Divided into six sections, the exhibition makes the visitor travel through the successive periods that have marked the magazine, and witness Paris Vogue’s ability to renew itself through time and to expand its notoriety. The tour of the exhibition begins with the 1,007 front covers of Vogue Paris that welcome the visitor.

Panorama of the 1,007 magazine covers ©Vogue Paris

From illustration to photography, each period has a strong visual, marked by a clear aesthetic rupture. These covers are the proof of a constant aesthetic evolution as well as the changes in the world of fashion.

Front covers Vogue Paris ©Zoya Pasquinet

Each room is spacious, meticulously organised with a variety of media arranged, which makes the cultural wealth of the exhibition. Photographs of models and drawings of haute couture clothing adorn the walls, handwritten letters exchanged between designers and haute couture creations behind display cases, the visitor will be amazed. At the entrance of each new room, explanations about the major event of the time and its impact on fashion and on Paris Vogue magazine are provided, both in French and in English.

 Drawing from Pablo Picasso on a Vogue Cover and illustrations from Tom Keogh. ©Zoya Pasquinet

If the first part of the exhibition is more classic and sober, the Black frames on the flashy walls of the last three rooms might make you think of a Piet Mondrian painting. Bright colours and the light effect gives a very modern look, which contrasts sharply with the first rooms dedicated to the magazine’s beginnings.

Photographs, magazines and suits from the last three rooms of the exhibition. ©Zoya Pasquinet

In addition, the exhibition highlights the collaboration with photographers such as Yves Klein, G. Hoyningen-Huene or H.Horst who started their careers thanks to the magazine. It pays tribute to Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld who have worked closely with the magazine, but also to iconic models such as Catherine Deneuve and Kate Moss who have posed for the most front covers.

The exhibition invites the visitor to dive into the history of Paris Vogue magazine by showing its ability to be creative as well as its influential authority in the world of fashion. The exhibition is perfectly clear, organised and highlighted by fabulous archives which takes the viewer through time. However, given the magazine’s worldwide reputation and influence, a spectacular element would have been expected at the end of the visit, which leaves the visitor a bit on its end.

Extremely recommended for fashion and art lovers, fans of photography and vintage, tourists coming to Paris but also for the curious who wish to know more about the history of fashion. Hurry up, you have until 30 January 2022 to discover this sumptuous colourful exhibition of fashion “à la française”.

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