The Novel of a Wardrobe

Parisian Chic from The Belle Epoque to the 1930’s

1st February 2014 A visit to Musée Carnavalet is always a pleasure, and particularly when there is a special exhibition. The Museum is comprised of two townhouses in The Marais, and has a splendid historical pedigree. The Marquise de Sévigné lived there for almost twenty years, and the extensive collections and interiors at Carnavalet enables visitors to view life as enjoyed by aristocracy through several centuries. In addition to the permanent collection, the current exhibition pays homage to fashion trends from La Belle Epoque to the 1930’s. Roman d’une Garde-Robe (The Novel of a Wardrobe) traces the emergence of the grand haute couture houses in Paris through the remarkable wardrobe of Alice Alleaume, a “vendeuse” or chief saleswoman at Chéruit on Place Vendome.

Evening Elegance - Shoes in Lamé and Leather by Hellstern & Sons 1925
Evening Elegance – Shoes in Lamé and Leather by Hellstern & Sons 1925

The influence of Alleaume’s family – her couturière mother Adéle, and her sister Hortense, who worked at Worth – and the professional life and tastes of these fashionable Parisians, are the factors that orchestrate the exhibition. Elegant fashions from Worth, Jeanne Lavin, Chéruit, plus superb accessories – hats, gloves, bags and jewellery are included.  Beautifully handwritten letters, documents, photographs and sales records, transport the viewer to a gilded age of glamour and refined style. When in Paris – a visit to The Novel of a Wardrobe will enchant and delight. While at Musée Carnavalet, take time to view the beautiful gardens – they are a joy all year – and especially now when the lovely greenery and colourful flowers bring a cheerful note to a winter’s day. Exhibition continues through 16 March. www.carnavalet.paris.fr JG

Photos: Top image: Evening Dress Debut XXème Siècle Rose Silk Mousseline with paillettes, ivory tulle and embroidery of pearls and sequins. Stéphane Piera/Galleria/Roger-Viollet Shoes: Stéphane Piera/Galleria/Roger-Viollet Hellstern Droites Reserves