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