All text, concepts and images ©2009- 2014, Debra Healy
unless otherwise stated.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Théâtre de la Mode

 Image from Berard by Boris Kochno

This Sunday November 20th 2011 in Paris, Piasa will auction off the original photographs from the marvelous exhibition Théâtre de la Mode originally held in Paris in 1945 at Musee des Arts Decoratifs in the Pavillion de Marsan. This collection of 27 silver prints on paper was photographed by the world renowned photographers Robert Doisneau, Roger Schall and Jacques Ronny. These images were featured in the original exhibition catalog Théâtre de la Mode published in 1945 by the Chambre Syndicale de  Haute Couture de Paris.
Images above courtesy of Piasa and Chombert-Sternback

 Christain Berard (1902-1949) detailing his design for the Théâtre de la Mode in London

Photograph by Roger Schall decorated by Christian Berard
  Image from Berard by Boris Kochno

After the ravages of the Nazi occupation of Paris, Lucien Lelong initiated the concept for a fashion extravaganza in miniature. Minaiature because supplied where in such short supply; things like fabric, needles, and thread, but talent, ingenuity, and creative energy where in abundance. The finest theatrical designers, set decorators, and couturiers produced magical illusions in miniature featuring the fashions of post-World War II France. The mannequins were one-third human size.  They were dressed in fashions created by the country’s finest designers, and were where displayed in 13 fabulous scenes. For example Jean Cocteau’s Ma Femme est une Sorcière (My Wife is a Witch), A Tribute to Renè Clair and Jean Saint-Martin’s Croquis de Paris (Paris Sketch), both originally created in 1945. Also Georges Wakhevitch’s set The Port of Nowhere. 

London exhibition announcement

After the premiere in Paris the exhibition toured toured Europe then America. 
The last stop of the original 1946 international tour of Théâtre de la Mode was San Francisco where the mannequins remained until the early 1950s. When Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of a San Francisco sugar magnate suggested that they be acquired by Maryhill Museum of Art. 

the original mannequins at the Maryhill Museum
The museum is a  castle-like chateau on a stunning 6,000-acre site overlooking the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Museum is located 100 miles east of Portland, Oregon. (here)

The photos are stamped on the back.
This collection is extremely rare. This is a unique opportunity to own documents of great originality
and historical importance.

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