Des cheveux et des poils

from 5 April to 17 September 2023

Following the success of the exhibitions La mécanique des dessous (2013), Tenue correcte exigée ! (2017) and Marche et démarche (2019), the musée des Arts décoratifs continues its exploration of the relationship between the body and fashion with an exhibition on hair styles and body hair/grooming. The exhibition, entitled Cheveux & poils (Hair & Hairs), which runs from April 5 to September 17, 2023, demonstrates how hairstyles and the grooming of human hair have contributed to the construction of appearances for centuries. Naming and immediately recognizing just a few of the many hairstyles that have existed from the 17th to the 20th centuries - the Fontange Coiffure, the Titus Cut, the Flapper Look or the Mohawk – one begins to realize that hairstyles have been a true fashion phenomenon, revealing both social and cultural codes that contemporaries can immediately decipher. As an extremely adaptable human material that can be cut, stretched, straightened, enhanced, colored, adorned, hidden, or displayed, hair is an essential aspect of one’s identity and has often been used as a means of expressing our adherence to a fashion, a conviction, or a protest while invoking much deeper meanings such as femininity, virility and negligence, to name just a few.

Apart from themes inherent to the history of hairstyling, including wigs, hairpieces, coloring and even baldness, Cheveux & poils also explores issues related to facial hair - beards, shaven faces, moustaches, eyebrows - as well as body hair - chest hair, leg hair, axillary hair, and hair removal. The exhibition also touches on the professions and savoir-faire of the past and the present, including the roles of barbers, wigmakers, bathkeepers and hairdressers and the emblematic figures of these trades, such as Léonard Autier (Marie-Antoinette’s favorite hairdresser), Monsieur Antoine (the world’s first celebrity hairdresser), Maria and Rosi Carita, Alexandre de Paris, and more recently, the roles of modern-day hairstylists. Finally, the exhibition delves into the world of contemporary creation with works by Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, and Martin Margiela, amongst others, who have used hair as an extraordinary medium in their designs. The scenography will be created by David Lebreton of the Designers Unit agency

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