Paris Preview: The Scene

Some tastes, shops and scents around the City of Light.

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Danse à la ville, 1883 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Photo By RMN (Musée d'Orsay)/Hervé Lewandowski

THE ART OF FASHION: The Musée d’Orsay is holding its own fashion show this season with the new exhibition “Impressionism and Fashion.”

Featuring 60 paintings by Manet, Monet and other emblematic artists of the movement — many of which have not been displayed in Paris for years — the show explores their aesthetic approach and how they brought garments to life by depicting their textile’s drape and texture through the rendering of light and color.

Adding an extra dimension are the 50 dresses, accessories and 20 men’s wear pieces that are also on display, which come from the Musée Galliera and French private collectors’ collections. So, too, are classical portraits by society painters such as Tissot and Stevens that help give a comprehensive perspective on fashion at the end of the 19th century.

Galliera is also linked to the Palais de Tokyo’s piece called “The Impossible Wardrobe,” in which Tilda Swinton will perform as part of the Paris Autumn Festival. In the live happening, which is the brainchild of Galliera director Olivier Saillard, the Scottish actress is to parade the precious garments from the storerooms of fashion museum for 50 minutes. Simultaneously, Katerina Jebb’s short movie made during the rehearsals for the performance will be screened in a loop. In the film, Swinton moves through Galliera’s storerooms holding historic archived garments.

Another artist drew from the archives of fashion, and not just any archives — Chanel’s. For her first exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris, Cindy Sherman assembled some signature self-portrait photographs with landscape images she retouched to create a painted-canvas effect. The monumental pieces emphasize the contrast between the luxurious clothing Sherman wears (ranging from early creations by Coco Chanel to more recent ones by Karl Lagerfeld) and the enigmatic, mysterious backgrounds.

Then two shows are all about glamour. On the outskirts of Paris, La Vallée Village, the luxury outlet mall in Serris, hosts a collection of 23 photographs by Norman Parkinson from the Fifties to the Seventies. These iconic images, rarely shown in France, illustrate the recurrent themes of elegance and travel together with a quintessential aspect of his art — his love of photographing models outside.

Back in the City of Light, “Paris vu par Hollywood” (or “Paris Seen by Hollywood”) brings together 400 documents at the Hôtel de Ville, including sketches, posters, dresses and 70 film extracts. From “Intolerance” to “Midnight in Paris,” the exhibition takes a broad historical view of France’s capital as the most represented foreign city in American films.

Meanwhile, the Grand Palais is home to many exhibitions this fashion season, including “Bohemias,” featuring more than 200 works addressing the modern myth of the marginal artist. Spanning four centuries, it examines some 15 themes through a mix of paintings, essays, pictures and musical extracts. The visitor becomes the lost gypsy, starting in Central Europe, wandering through time and ending his journey in a Montmartre café.

At the Musée du Quai Branly is “Beloved Hair,” a survey of the various meanings hair can have in different civilizations and an examination of its specific power, through examples of fashionable hairstyles and hair ornaments.

Then, over at the Louvre, 23 years after I.M. Pei’s Pyramid made its debut, the museum is unveiling its newest architectural achievement. Its Cour Visconti, open to the public for the first time, is the new home of the revamped Islamic Art department. Over 32,000 square feet and two floors of the glass pavilion, 2,500 artifacts will be displayed and protected by an iridescent steel roof that floats like a golden cloud.

Anne-Aymone Gheerbrant

• “Impressionism and Fashion,” through Jan. 20, 2013
Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007
Tel.: +33-1-40-49-48-14
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m; Thursday, 9:30 a.m.- 9:45 p.m.

• “The Impossible Wardrobe,” Sept. 29 through Oct. 1
Palais de Tokyo, 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116
Tel.: +33-1-53-45-17-13
Opens Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.

• “Cindy Sherman,” through Oct. 10
Gagosian Gallery
4 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008
Tel.: +33-1-75-00-05-92
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

• “Travel in Style,” through Jan. 6, 2013
Espace La Vallée Village, 3 Cours de la Garonne, 77700 Serris
Tel.: +33-1-60-42-54-09
Open daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

• “Paris vu par Hollywood,” through Dec. 15
Hôtel de Ville, 5 Rue de Lobau, 75004
Tel.: +33-1-42-76-51-53. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

• “Beloved Hair, Trophies and Trifles,” through July 14, 2013
Musée du Quai Branly, 37 Quai Branly, 75007
Tel.: +33-1-56-61-70-00
Open Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

• “Bohemias,” through Jan. 14, 2013.
Grand Palais, Galeries Nationales, Place Clémenceau, 75008
Tel.: +33-1-40-13-48-00
Open Wednesday to Monday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Wednesday until 10 p.m.

• Islamic Art Galleries
Musée du Louvre
Place du Louvre, 75001
Tel.: +33-1-40-20-53-17
Open Thursday to Monday, 9 a.m.-5:45 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m.-9:45 p.m; Fri. 9 a.m.-9:45 p.m.


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