This is the time of the year when the chill in the air magically transforms lazy summer into crisp and vibrant autumn. A time when café terraces are filled with bronzed Parisians. Along with the hustle and bustle of over-energetic motorists darting dangerously about in matchbox-sized cars, they bring the city back to life in great force... It is also the period when the fashion scene awakens with exhibitions and store openings.
Opéra, costumes dor et dargent
Since Louis XIV founded the Opéra for his own pleasure, its behind-the-scenes ateliers have entranceded the public through their ability to enhance the fairy tale-like charm or tragic persona of each performer. This is the kingdom of illusion, the stuff dreams are built on: make-believe backdrops and spectacular costumes. Armed with their inspiration, costume designers and on-scene artists sketch steamlined freehand silhouettes whichare sent to the operas various workshops at the Bastille and Palais Garnier. The artisans in these ateliers transform the original drawings into a three-dimensional marvel, in turn handed over to the performer who slips into the role of the character, treating his costume like a second skin. But,once the show is over and the lights are turned off, the costume assumes a second life. It becomes the most beautiful of museum pieces, evoking magnificent memories. Blink your eyes and rediscover Maria Callas in her long white crepe gown and red velvet cloak, or Rudolf Noureev in gold-embroidered silk brocade.
Le Bon Marché, until Nov 3, Mon-Sat, 9:30 to 7pm, 24, rue de Sèvres, 7e, tel: 01.44.39.80.00, free.
From October 29 through February 13, the Musée Galliera hosts Souvenirs Moscovites: 1860-1930, an exhibition highlighting the Russias influence on the world of French couture at the turn of the last century. Some 250 photos from the Historical Museum of Moscow (Vassiliev collection) enabled the curators to place 80 garments and 40 accessories in their proper context, for this very special occasion. The show begins with a display of bourgeois fashions from Moscow under the last three emperors, Alexandre II (1818-1881), Alexandre III (1845-1894), and Nicolas II (1868-1918). The second room is looks at Russia under Nicolas II and charts the history of official relations between France and Russia.
Musée Galliera (Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris), Tue-Sun, 10am to 6pm, 10, av Pierre 1er de Serbie, 16e, tel: 01.47.20.85.23, 45F.
Promenade sur soie
Until October 30, Gallery Joyce presents the precious Fort Street Studio collection of rugs designed by Brad Davis and Janis Provisor. This American couple, both internationally acclaimed painters, had a mutual fascination and passion for Asian art, its calligraphy and way of depictting the countryside. Via a small collection of rugs, this exhibition takes the visitor on a journey to Hangzhou where Davis and Provisor began to employ traditional regional motifs in their designs, before focusing Dandong where they used local raw silk in the manufacturing process.
Joyce, Mon, 2:30 to 6:30pm, Tue-Sat, 11am to 6:30pm, 168-173, Galerie de Valois, 1er, tel: 01.40.15.03.72, free.
Pantalon: Affaire de Liberté
From October 8-30, the gallery space of the Printemps department store is the setting for an exhibition showcasing more than 100 pairs of trousers dating from 1900 to the present.
Au Printemps, Mon-Sat, 9:30 am to 7pm, bd Haussmann, 9e, tel: 01.42.82.50.00, free.
Lheure de lAfrique
Tis the season for new store openings. Among recent arrivals, Moroccan-born Karim Tassis boutique spotlights his first collection of womenswear to be shown in Paris. Tassi favors straight sober lines, novelty anthracite-toned wool and graphite lamés. Flecked with metallic thermal appliqués based on Moroccan motifs, his synthetic tops have the sparkle of a city skyline at dusk. He attended Casablancas Institut International de Stylisme et de Modélisme, before enrolling with the Chambre Syndicale de Couture, on moving to Paris in 1989. After working for numerous moderate price range firms in the city as well as for private clients at home, he decided to launch his own label. Hell host his first press presentation during fashion week this month, which also coincides with the launch of his 30-square meter store at 8, rue Ferdinand Duval in the Marais.
Fatim Djim wants to give the world a taste of black Africa. She opened her store at 91, rue St-Honoré about six months ago to show off her line of clothing, accessories and objects all inspired by this intriguing part of the world and last month staged her first fashion show in Paris. Her dresses and tops are embroidered with Cauris masks (once used for money and today a symbol of magic and good luck). Her clothes are very western in terms of simplicity of cut, while the richness of the fabrics she uses (cotton, cashmere and wool), is emphasized by shells and symbols that tell the story of her ancestors.