Alaia: Eh…

There are lots of great museum shows on right now for the fashion lover. There’s the wardrobe of a 1930s fashion plate at the Carnavalet (which is free and open on Tuesdays, when most museums are closed). At the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is a survey of contemporary jewelry. It’s mind-blowing, from the live-caterpillar earrings to the vintage Alexander Calder examples. Even the Trompe-L’Oeil show in the same museum has some fun sartorial pieces. The Alaia show, however, was a bit if a bust for me. It’s not a full-on retrospective; there are a few dozen dresses but no ancillary visuals, such as sketches, patterns, fashion show videos, etc. To see the whole show, set up in two museums that face each other, you have to cross a busy street. Don’t look for guiding signage, because there isn’t any. But the real drag, for me at least, was the bad writing (and bad translations) of the explanatory texts. One of the paragraphs mentions Alaia’s total “lack of ornamentation.” Come again?

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