A history of the fashion model @ Docks en Seine

There are always exhibitions celebrating fashion. Hundreds of displays every year are held all over the world to celebrate design, craftsmanship and couture. However, it is rare that the models used to present these celebrated works of clothes art are given any recognition. Now, Paris is doing just that.

The Docks en Seine give a history of models from the very beginning. On show are magazine adverts from the 1890s to the 1990s as well as images of the earliest fashion shows from the 19th century. The show gives us an opportunity to see first hand the changing ideals of body type and beauty with corsets and busts. Models from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell are shown among 19th century models for illustration in long flowing gowns with huge, voluminous bustles.

We also get a glimpse of what happens behind photo shoots with mock ups and annotations of the picture selection process. A turning point in the career of the model came with the use of photography. Countless fashion editorials are on display with the work of Mario Testino and Juergen Teller. There is also work by Helmut Newton on display, whose work seems to be more about celebrating the female form and sexuality than fashion.

Agency cards remind us of the lucrative and competitive business of being a top fashion model with the beginnings of the model agency, reminding us that it is not all sitting pretty and posing for the camera. We are shown the history of model posing, a move from static prints to movement on the runway, finishing with fashion films from the past year.

Strut the runway along the Seine to the Docks for a pose off by this wonderful exhibition.

Mannequin le Corps de la Mode is on display at Les Docks en Seine, Paris until 19 May

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

2 thoughts on “A history of the fashion model @ Docks en Seine

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