Le Vrai et le Faux: Fashion Binaries of the Belle Epoque
Curators: Stephanie Lever, Jaqueline Lopez, Noyonika Sicar
Le Vrai et le Faux: Fashion Binaries of the Belle Epoque deconstructs the dynamic and, at times, problematic binaries at play in the fashion system. Le Vrai et Le Faux Chic, a book by the famed French caricaturist Georges Goursat, popularly known as SEM, captures these troubling binaries in both literal and figurative form. Viewers of the performance see a table covered with pictures from SEM’s book, each chosen with a specific purpose. The performance is divided into four sections, the first presenting the object itself and the next three reflecting binaries—of old versus new, artificial versus natural, and center versus periphery. Le Vrai et le Faux reveals how the caricatures and texts in the album together perpetuate complex fashion binaries and diktats. The goal is to create a narrative originating from an object of the past but realized in the present through live performance and contemporary references, prompting viewers to question how, why, and to what extent these binaries still play a role in fashion today.
This performance is part of Objects in Trouble, a collaboration between Palais Galliera—Musée de la mode de la ville de Paris and the MA Fashion Studies program at The New School’s Parsons Paris. Objects in Trouble consists of four performances, each of which investigates an object in the Palais Galliera’s collection with a problematic history in relation to issues of race, colonialism, or elitism.
Concept: Laurent Cotta and Marco Pecorari, with the support of Miren Arzalluz
Exhibition Design: Justin Morin
Research Support: Antoine Bucher
Communication: Lisa Sarma and Margaux Brisson
Special Thanks to Morna Laing and Florence Leclerc Dickler