A Diplomat of Decency: Unbuttoning Fashion


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Modern celebrities with habitual exhibitionist tendencies may not have realized that the humble button, serve not only as a diplomat of decency but also as decorative accessory. This simple accessory has been holding things together since the 13th century. For what may  seem as an utilitarian and basic 'gadget', it is interesting to note the wide range of designs that may be found across the centuries in fashion as the button from its functional origin into a objet d'art.

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This month, timed perfectly alongside Paris Fashion Week, buttons meet fashion with an exhibition — Déboutonner la Mode— an exhibition featuring over 3000 buttons from the amazing collection of Loic Allio at Paris' Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

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This is not a bunch of buttons tossed into glass cases, but a well designed exhibition illustrating buttons as they were worn on over 100 garments from aristocrats in the early 18th century to modern haute couture with such iconic designers as Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Patrick Kelly. For Elsa Schiaparelli fans, keep a look out for the absolutely stunning vest, created in 1937, with butterfly buttons.

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The chronological exhibition shows buttons over 2000 years old from China. It concludes with contemporary designers including a beautiful Dior dress with black buttons, part of his 2014 autumn collection. Christian Dior once said that buttons "...help give a dress its full meaning." In addition to some remarkable clothing, photos and period fashion accessories text in English (which isn't always the case with Paris exhibitions) traced the evolution of buttons in the French society and economy. The France's button industry employed over 30,000 people during the 19 Century! ViTRINE advise visitors to take a slow stroll through the 3,000 buttons displayed in the exhibition and make sure not to miss Alberto Giacometti's bronze button designed for Elsa Schiaparelli.

The exhibition is held at Paris' Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107, rue de Rivoli, Paris, from  February 10 to July 19, 2015.

ViTRINE is a slo-lifestyle monthly published by slow-fashion accessory label 72 Smalldive. The monthly blog reports on lifestyle matters and events related to the label’s philosophy of slow living. The blog also endeavours to support and report on independent creatives and events that are aligned its readers’ aspired lifestyle. For content, advertorial, and collaborative matters, please fill up our inquiry form.


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