Academic consideration of the ’60s often looks at youth and cultural shifts, usually pertaining to fashion’s connection to identity and personal dress practices. It’s understandable—the decade was a time of very radical change in society. But major changes in the actual business of fashion took place in this era as well—an actual shift in how the industry itself operates. When discussing the humanity of fashion in this era, many focus on London, but when assessing how we moved towards our modern idea of consuming apparel, how brands court consumers, and what we consider luxury, one must study Paris—which is exactly what Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 does in detail.
Attendees arrive in the basement exhibit space to a room of couture that, for the most part, predates the time span explored. The result is two-fold, contextualizing what couture (and therefore, fashion) had been prior—thereby establishing what was being revolutionized—as well as introducing the names and houses to be further explored. “I talk about a very specific time period in French fashion, beginning in ’57,” said curator Coleen Hill. “So I start here because it really sets the tone for what we’re going to see in ’60s fashion.”