Free Shipping on Orders of $150 or more in the US!

Théâtre de la Mode at the Maryhill Museum

Sarah Wizemann

Posted on September 19 2011

Théâtre de la Mode at the Maryhill Museum
Black Wool Suit by Balenciaga - Image by David Seidner
My husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this weekend by visiting the site of our wedding ceremony and reception, the Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Washington. An eclectic collection of artwork is housed in this beautiful mansion, perched high on a hill in the Columbia River Gorge, where peacocks roam the sprawling grounds, just to add to the magic. We chose this spot for several personal reasons, but near the top of the list was the fact that it contains the incredible Théâtre de la Mode dolls. I was eager to revisit the dolls, since the time flew by so quickly on our wedding day (as well it should) that I didn't have much of a chance to admire this amazing collection.
Street Scene by Anne Surgers (replacement for Georges Wakhevitch's "The Port of Nowhere")
For those of you who aren't familiar with them, here is a little background information: After France's liberation from Germany in 1944, French couture was at a standstill. Due to a severe shortage of materials, designers were unable to even think of producing a full-scale collection, so the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne conceived of a small exhibition called Théâtre de la Mode (Theater of Fashion.) The organizers commissioned two-foot tall, wire-framed dolls from a sculptor, called on artists like Jean Cocteau to create sets, and invited the major fashion designers of the day to create outfits to scale. The resulting exhibition was “perfection in miniature,” and not lacking a single exquisite detail for which the haute couture Parisian houses are known. The original collection, including accessories and recreated sets, has been permanently housed and preserved by the Maryhill Museum since 1952.

Fleurs de Mal by Jean Patou - Image by David Seidner
Anne Surgers' recreation of "Croquis de Paris" by Jean Saint-Martin
Linen Day Suit by Marcel Dhorme - Image by David Seidner
For anyone with an interest in fashion, you simply have to see this exhibit! So compelling are the ensembles that I kept inadvertently setting off the alarm sensor by leaning in too close to get a better look at the intricate details on the garments. A book about the project recounts the difficulties encountered by the seamstresses and tailors–imagine the challenge of producing couture-quality garments when something as simple as a needle and thread were in short supply! I am continually awed by the resilience of the French spirit. To conceive of such an imaginative project at what must have seemed like their darkest hour, what with constant rationing, brutal weather, and the national economy in ruins. And yet, in true French form, these fashion designers and artists came together to create a much-needed symbol of hope and renewal for the people. I know I'm a shameless Francophile, but I just have to say it—Vive la France!
Anne Surgers' recreation of Jean Cocteau's "Ma Femme est une Sorciere"

Related Posts

Related Posts

Menstrual Hygiene Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global advocacy platform that brings together the voices and actions of non-profi...
Read More
Flash Sale on Swimwear
Flash Sale on Swimwear
As the number of fully vaccinated individuals increases, so does our hope for a summer full of vacations, adventures,...
Read More
End of Season Sale
End of Season Sale
It's the best time of year! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the sales are starting to get steep. Th...
Read More
Embrace Color this Spring
Embrace Color this Spring
As temperatures warm up and the sun becomes a regular fixture in the sky, our wardrobe tends to take a cue from mothe...
Read More
Baserange Spring 21 Collection
Baserange Spring 21 Collection
We are so excited to present the Spring 21 collection from Baserange. Honestly, the super bright Ara Green in bamboo ...
Read More
Earth Day Giveaway
Earth Day Giveaway
Earth Day 2021 brings the hope of progress toward sustained climate activism and environmental protection. America ha...
Read More

More Posts

0 comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing