In Parijs bezocht ik ook de tentoonstelling L'orient des femmes vu par Christian Lacroix in Quai Branly. Dit museum was het kadootje van Chirac aan Parijs en het is een prachtig kado.
Ook de tentoonstelling over kostuums van vrouwen uit het midden-oosten, bijna allen met de hand geborduurd, was zeer de moeite waard.
"True hymm to oriental women, the exhibition reveals another aspect of femininity, from the North of Syria to the Sinaï peninsula, introducing an exceptional collection of 150 traditional costumes and accessories from the Near East, selected by designer Christian Lacroix, in close co-operation with Hana Chidiac, Head of the North African and Near East collections at the musée du quai Branly.
As the political, economic and cultural crossroads between Asia, Europe and Africa, the Near East has been the cradle of rich civilisations that have left their marks on many different artistic fields, including art of clothes, still largely unknown to a wider public.
The history of textile and embroidery extends over thousands of years, and can be seen not only asa way of dressing, but also as a language, and as social, geographical and religious markers.
Since the 1970s, the image and appearance of Near Eastern women have changed. Today, what we call "Islamic dress" imposes itself across the region. This dark costume completely covers the body of woman, leaving no part visible, and is in fact leading to the progressive abandonment of traditional eastern costumes, causing the disappearance of the final remnants of a secular art of clothes.
By exhibiting for the first time a selection of traditional dresses originating from a vast area at the heart of the "Fertile Crescent", from the north of Syria to the Sinaï Peninsula, the musée du quai Branly offers to its visitors the opportunity to discover the diverse ways of life and costumes of Near Eastern women.
It reveals a different face of the Eastern woman, taking a new, lively and aesthetic look at their traditional creations.
With the exception of a moving child's dress from the 13th century, discovered in a Lebanese cave and lent by the Beirut National Museum, the exhibited items mainly date from the late 19th century to the present day. They come from the musée du quai Branly collections and the Widad Kamel Kawar collection (Jordan), the most exceptional private collection of Near East costumes and accessories.
The exhibition aims to present the costumes of female villagers and Bedouins, whose richness and splendour evoked admiration of 20th century travellers, and disconcerted more than one of them, as noted by the geographer Jacques Weulersse: "They expected to see the clothes of poor peasant women, but they discovered the costumes of opera ballerinas". (Paysans de Syrie et du
Proche Orient, Paris, Gallimard, 1946)
For this event, the musée du quai Branly has acquired about thirty accessories: dresses, coats, head-dresses and veils, which complement the outfits selected and enhance the permanent collections alongside belts, aprons, jackets and jewellery."