The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, an exhibition that transports visitors to the most glamorous fashion houses of Paris and London in the years after WWII, opens in Nashville at the Ingram Gallery of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts on June 18, 2010, and remains on view through Sept. 12, 2010.
The exhibition was organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which houses one of the most extensive costume collections in the world. Following record breaking attendance at its launch in London and its subsequent presentations in Australia, Hong Kong and Canada, The Golden Age of Couture continues its international tour at the Frist Center, the exhibition's only venue in the United States.
The Golden Age of Couture celebrates an important decade in fashion history that began with the launch of Christian Dior's famous New Look in 1947 and ended with his death in 1957. The romantic postwar silhouette pioneered by Dior scandalized and delighted the public, and ushered in a period of remarkable creativity. Dior himself called it a "golden age" for haute couture. He and his contemporaries set a standard for impeccable workmanship and design that has rarely been surpassed since.
In addition to Dior, the exhibition highlights the work of such luminary Paris designers as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain and celebrated London designers including Hardy Amies, Charles Creed and Norman Hartnell. Included are examples of daywear, cocktail dresses and evening gowns designed for royalty and aristocracy. Photographs by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn show how images in fashion magazines enhanced the prestige of couture, while also making its innovative ideas widely known and accessible in America as well as Europe.
A section of the exhibition will focus on handcraft and techniques, with undergarments and the insides of dresses on display. To enrich the content of the exhibition, photographs, documentary film, textiles and archival material will also be on view. It will close with a look at the state of haute couture today.
Advance timed tickets for The Golden Age of Couture will be available May 17, 2010, through www.fristcenter.org (additional charges apply).
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of 2010 Frist Fridays), 5-9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247. The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays, 1-5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting their website.