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The Beautiful and The Bizarre

The Beautiful and The Bizarre

Designers old and new strive to capture the essence of style.

For me, nothing compares to a fabulous ensemble, something that makes me feel confident, strong and uniquely me. Designers old and new strive to capture the essence of style. I have visited Fashion Museums near and far and thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorites with the Laflore Paris family.

Let’s start from the ground up: shoes! Who doesn’t love a fabulously styled and well-fitted shoe?

Bata Shoe Museum

Prepare to be dazzled! The Bata Shoe Museum is an absolute must see for footwear fanciers, historians, star-struck super fans and art enthusiasts alike. The building itself is an award-winning, modern architectural gem and the permanent collection of 13,000 shoes spans 4,500 years of eye-popping history. From ancient Egyptian sandals and Chinese foot-binding wrappings, Queen Victoria’s 1840 silk slippers, Napoleon Bonaparte’s silk socks and the Dalai Lama’s flip-flops to Marilyn Monroe’s red stilettos, Elvis Presley’s loafers, Gene Simmons Platform Boots and Justin Bieber’s maroon sneakers you will be amazed and enchanted throughout. The workshops and roving exhibitions are unique and intriguing so step into the museum where something’s always afoot! How many pairs of shoes do you take when you travel?

Now, let’s go undercover … into the realm of sheer delight and unbridled pleasure … into the realm of lingerie.

The sensation of delicately woven cotton tap pants against your thigh, the almost imperceptible fluttering of a fine satin camisole worn under a business suit, the heart-pumping rush of donning a merry widow and thigh boots … whatever your passion, the world of ladies undergarments is very, very personal.

Underpinnings Museum

What better way, then, is there to explore a lingerie museum than in the privacy of your own boudoir? That’s right, the ultimate lingerie museum, Underpinnings, is virtually online. And, aside from the fabulous collection, all beautifully captured and tastefully presented, the fascinating history of ladies foundation garments is at your fingertips.

Underpinnings Museum pays homage to the fine art of design and the skilled hands that have brought those designs from concept to creation. For those skilled with needle and thread, there’s an array of historical and unique patterns.  So . . . slip into something comfortable and indulge in the realm of titillation. Pack some sensuous lingerie into your trolala and treat your lover to a weekend of bliss.

The Height of Haute Couture
Dior Granville

There are designers and then there’s … Dior. There are fashion museums and then … there’s Musee Dior, Granville. What sets this museum apart from all others? It is housed in Dior’s childhood home, a magnificent, seaside villa, surrounded by immaculate gardens. This museum is as captivating outside as the iconic gowns and accessories featured within.

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Viewing the permanent collection is a sumptuous treat; saunter from room to room where you’ll experience some of Dior’s most exquisite, often gasp-worthy, creations and marvel at the meticulously curated photographs that speak volumes of fashion history. You cannot help but feel the presence of the very superstitious Monsieur Dior as you walk through this one-of-a-kind museum. Before you leave to stroll down the path to the sea, indulge in some French delicacies at the museums’ Jardin de The. Watch for special exhibitions as the museum re-opens in the spring of ’23.

What will you wear when you go?
ModeMuseum

From the sublime to the fabulously bizarre … prepare to be inspired, amused and perhaps a little shocked.

Affectionately referred to as MOMU, Antwerp’s ModeMuseum is the ultimate place for cutting edge design; celebrating Belgian designers and encouraging dynamic new perspectives. “Fashion is more than clothing, and more than ‘fashion’. It’s a prism to look at the world from different angles.”

With a current collection of 38,000 pieces and a dynamic array of special exhibitions, MOMU is a destination every fashionista must visit at least once.  Challenging the traditional definitions of an entire industry takes courage, passion, and devotion and MOMU has plenty of all three.  And speaking of plenty … MOMU Café is stylistically fresh with plenty of vegan options!  Will you take your bebe or bobo?

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Cite Dentelle Mode

The Museum for Lace and Fashion!

The heart of the Saint-Pierre district of Calais was once dedicated entirely to lace-making.  Here you will discover the Boulart building dating from the 1870’s, home to the Cite Dentelle Mode Museum. Lace first appears in Europe during the sixteenth century when needle and bobbin lace-making was a highly skilled craft.  The advent of machine lace, circa 1809, revolutionized the fashion world.  Today, lace is still highly valued and adorns everything from wedding gowns and lingerie to jeans and sweats.

Try your hand at lace-making at Cite Dentelle Museum, take in a machine lace demonstration or simply admire the vast collection. The astonishing intricacy of the designs is remarkable, I am in awe of this almost magical art form. And! There’s an exciting exhibition on the horizon, featuring couturier, Yves Saint Laurent, Paris. Focusing on transparency, “the exhibition demonstrates the manner in which Yves Saint Laurent used the effects of transparency of fabrics to propose a new, powerful and sensual female figure”. Who wants to meet me there?

FIT. Fashion Institute of Technology

No trip to New York City is complete for any fashion-lover until you’ve experienced the Museum at FIT. Innovative, award-winning exhibitions that span the centuries. A recent exhibition, Fresh, Fly and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style is an eye-opening adventure into the grassroots (no pun intended) of the Hip Hop movement. Beyond oversized sweatshirts and bling accessories this fascinating exhibit explores the global impact the movement has had on the fashion world and what it has accomplished in tearing through stereotypes, creating a vibrant new era of music and street-style.

The permanent collection boasts 50,000 pieces and the virtual tours offer more than 2,300 images.  Interactive programs and podcasts along with extensive resources make the Museum at FIT a treasure trove for fashion aficionados and the casually curious mind alike. But it’s definitely worth the trip to NYC to soak up the ulta-energizing vibe of this world-class museum.

Wear your bobo when you go!
Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa, Spain

"Fashion and Heritage, a quasi-impossible dialogue pitting the ephemeral against permanence, whose relevance stems from the current moment, as opposed to receiving value from the past. This conversation flows, however, when the topic at hand is Cristóbal Balenciaga".

Drama is alive and well at the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum … every piece captives. One might spend an entire day entranced by a single creation.

Set against stark yet vibrant backdrops each of these exquisite works of art create an ambiance that is absolutely palpable. Is it any wonder that one of his earliest inspirations was the Marquises of Casa-Torres for whom his mother was seamstress. Famed for his expert precision, technique and perfectionist demands, his almost unbelievably impossible designs gained Balenciaga the respect of designers across the globe. Dior referred to him as “the master of all of us”, Givenchy coined him “the architect of Haute Couture” while Coco Chanel described him as “the only authentic couturier”.

Visit this fascinating museum, showcasing astonishing fashion innovations that were in a state of perpetual evolution.

And there you have it . . . just a few of the incredible fashion museums we wanted to share with our Laflore Family.

Who knows . . . one day you may be walking through a Laflore Paris museum and you’ll be able to say, I knew them from the very beginning.

Happy exploring!

Until next time . . . .

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