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Museum Sets Marithé + François Girbaud Retrospective

The exhibition in Saint-Étienne highlights the collaboration between husband-and-wife duo.

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Marithé Bachellerie and Francois Girbaud in 1968
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GIRBAUD AT THE MUSEUM: An exhibition about the French denim label Marithé + François Girbaud, opening on Friday at the Museum of Art and Industry in the French city of Saint-Étienne, traces 40 years of collaboration between the husband-and-wife team behind the label, François Girbaud and Marithé Bachellerie.

Over more than 80,000 square feet, the exhibit — titled "L'Autre jean” (“The Other Jean” in English) — showcases items from the brand’s archives such as cowboy jeans, baggy pants and shuttle pants with Velcro straps, alongside drawings and sketches, advertising campaigns and images of fashion shows. These include ad campaigns shot by Jean-Luc Godard for the brand in the late Eighties. The museum is also screening "Top Ten Designers in Paris," a 52-minute U.S. television program never broadcast in France, featuring the label’s collection for spring-summer 1980, alongside those of nine other designers.

The exhibit has a chronological approach and the last room is dedicated to the duo’s research into sustainable production methods. 

Concurrently, there will be demonstration of the Wattwash laser machine, one of the technologies used by the label, which allows visitors to personalize their jeans. Because the machine is too large to be presented in the museum, it will take place at the Cité du Design during the International Design Biennial, which runs March 14 to 31.

In conjunction with the exhibit, which ends on May 6, French publisher Éditions de La Martinière is releasing “Marithé + François Girbaud,” the first book dedicated to the label, on Nov. 8. The hardcover book is prefaced by Yohji Yamamoto and has a recycled denim dust jacket.