For the first time, les arts Décoratifs is unveiling a unique collection , acquired in 2012, and comprising over 3,000 buttons from the 18th to the 20th century. it provides a complete overview of the evolution of the button and comprises pieces chosen one by one for the provenance and quality of their execution.

The extraordinary diversity of materials and techniques used in their fabrication reflects the evolution of knowledge, skills and innovation in all fields. The exhibition will retrace the history of the button, from the unique hand-made creation to its industrialised production, in the context of evolving fashions. it reveals how such a small vestimentary accessory became the object of such creativity and gained such importance on the garment. in France, buttons were made as early as the 13th century. From the 14th century onwards, as garments became more tailored, the button became increasingly useful. its production and use developed progressively until the late 18th century, now regarded as the golden age of the button. Male fashion adopted the button and it became a luxury product, often more valuable than the garment itself. Female fashion soon followed. Echoing the work of the collector, garments, pictures, drawings and fashion plates will show the button’s importance in the silhouette and the part it plays in gestures. Beyond their role as ornament, buttons could be used to convey political or humorous messages. The revolutionary period reveals the incredible inventiveness of the fashion artisans of the time, and the same phenomenon manifested itself on patriotic buttons in the late 1930s.

In addition, this exhibition is an opportunity to perceive these craftsmen and artists’ creations in the context of the fashions of the time.