As I mentioned in my Paris recap & travel guide, on our last day, we went the museum of fashion and textiles, Les Arts Décoratifs: Le Musée de la Mode et du Textile. There were two exhibits open, “Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion” and “Barbie”. I’ll share a little bit about the premise of each exhibit, then share ALL my pictures. So, this post is more or less a photo diary of the exhibits because my mom and I took SO many pictures!
The first exhibit, “Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion”, was very straightforward. It chronicled women’s fashion from the 1700’s through today. None of the clothes were behind glass, giving the exhibit a really special ambiance because we could get so close to the clothes and really appreciate them as they are- not from behind a glass wall.
Another thing I really admired about the exhibit was the way in which the clothes were displayed. Instead of just timeline-ing the clothes and displaying them in chronological order, the curators went beyond that and also set up backdrops and making little scenes out of the outfits to give a sense of the time period from which the dresses came. These small details gave the exhibit a much larger impact because we could really see, understand and appreciate the significance of time passing. It was more than just a dress from the 1890’s and a dress from 1920: it was the difference between having your father choose your husband and having freedom and the right to vote (in America, at least).
My favorite part of the exhibit was the final room, which covered the late 1900’s through today. At first, it was a very overwhelming set up to look at because there were so many beautiful outfits and garments. Once I got my bearings, I loved slowly walking through the room and appreciating each iconic piece.
The second exhibit was “Barbie”. It was basically an exhibit chronicling the history and evolution of the Barbie doll and how she, as a brand, has been a significant and positive influence for girls and women. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this exhibit, but it was SO cool. I loved learning about this history of how the original Barbie doll came to be and seeing her as she evolved over time. While I think her influence on young girls and women’s ideas about body image have been anything but positive, you can make the argument that Barbie’s 100+ careers has inspired young girls to dream big.
Either way, Barbie was one of my favorite childhood toys and seeing an exhibit all about her was absolutely fascinating. The detail that was put into each display was impeccable. It really was a whole Barbie world. I also enjoyed learning about the different collaborations other companies and products have done with Barbie over the years, especially all the fashion collaborations like Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld and many more.
Overall, our morning spent at the museum was one of my favorite things we did on our entire trip. It was such a fun learning experience. None of the pictures do the clothes justice- they were really so much more beautiful in person. For those visiting Paris- I highly recommend stopping by Les Arts Décoratifs! Its very close to the Louvre so it’s in a nice, centralized location for museum-goers.