Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paris Fashions 1945

"In 1944, the war-battered French couture industry decided to revive its international reputation by conceiving a small exhibition entitled Théâtre de la Mode. The exhibition organizer enlisted the major fashion designers of the day, including Jeanne Lanvin, Lucien Lelong, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Pierre Balmain to create outfits for small wire-frame dolls just over two feet tall.

The exhibition of over 230 dolls, displayed in artist-designed sets, opened in Paris on March 27, 1945 at the Museum of Decorative Arts. It was an instant sensation, and traveled to London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna, New York, and San Francisco. With the return of the French fashion industry, the dolls had completed their work and were donated to the Maryhill Museum near Portland, Oregon, where they disappeared from view.

Under an extraordinary set of circumstances in 1990, the dolls were rediscovered and returned to Paris, recoiffed and restyled for an exhibition at the Musée de la Mode. Because of his pioneering work with French fashion and historical gowns, David Seidner was asked to photograph the little dolls."

 – catalog description from David Seidner: Paris Fashions 1945 – a display of the doll photographs taken by Seidner in 1990 in Paris and shown in 2009 at the International Center of Photography in New York

Dior for Lelong

Jean Patou


Marcelle Chaumont

Jacques Fath

Marcel Dhorme

Martial & Armand

Mme. Gres