The Impressionists and fashion

The Impressionists and fashion is an exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay displayed in Paris until January 20th 2013. Here’s a review of the exhibition, and a critic of Parisian museums.

Art and fashion have always come together. Art can account for the evolution of fashion, as fashion shows the moods of an artistic era. It is through the paintings of famous impressionists such as Manet, Caillebotte, Monet, Tissot, Renoir and others, that we dissect the fundamentals of fashion in the 1800s.


Fundamentals of fashion

We learn that crinoline is the most used material. Petticoats are wide, baggy and supported by steel structures. Big puffy dresses tucked in the back to add volume were popular among wealthy women. Women change several times a day. Different outfits are required for trips to the city, the country and at different times of the day, such as for meals.

The corset is less severe and a little more feminine, because necklines are deeper and buttons and laces are prettier. Corsets were worn so tight that the woman’s waist is really tiny. Lace and velvet are the favorite of the era, giving the appearance of more sensual, rich and opulent clothing. The colours are however simple.


A critic of Parisians museums

It’s a pretty nice exhibition. For someone who loves fashion, it’s interesting to see the evolution in women as well as in men’s fashion through the eyes of such famous painters. The paintings themselves are very beautiful and deserve some time to look at them in depth.

But how can someone be able to take the time to look at paintings in a Paris museum? We had to queue to enter the exhibition, because they were counting the ins and outs. We thought that because of that the amount of people in the museum at one time would be ok. How wrong we were! People rushing into one another, some taking pictures when not allowed, kids running everywhere, phones ringing: in fact, no peace at all to look carefully at the paintings and props that were displayed. There was even a traffic jam between two of the rooms.

And The Louvre is even more intense. All I was able to see were tourists snapping pictures at anything and everything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a tourist too, but I can behave in a museum! The exhibition is worth a look, but be prepared to be rushed and crushed.

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