Déboutonner la Mode – Les Arts Decoratifs

Les Arts Décoratifs is currently holding an exhibition called Déboutonner la Mode, which is an extraordinary collection of over 3,000 buttons and accessories by well known designers and artists of the late 19th and early 20th century.  The exhibit shows how buttons were a discreet way of showing social status and style, as well as changes in fashion and society itself. Déboutonner la Mode reveals the history of the button, showing how it reflects the fashion and creativity of a period. Everything from buttons as pictures, the button industry, masculine style, the Art Nouveau movement and even patriotic buttons are showcased chronologically.

One does not realize the historical importance of the button until visiting Déboutonner la Mode. The exhibit starts during the time of the late 1800’s and takes us through the 20th century, when buttons started appearing on ankle boots, gloves, and undergarments. Materials like glass, leather, wood, ceramic, pearls, gold metal, fur, stones, and many more have been used to make buttons and are all on display. At the time, they were also noted in prominent fashion magazines such as Vogue, Fémina, and L’Official de la Couture. This exhibit emphasizes the manner in which certain courtiers creatively used and interpreted the button in their own way, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Chanel, Christian Dior, and many more. Over 3,000 buttons of different shapes, patters, and designs are on display.

The exhibit was extremely interesting to see. I never realized how prominent buttons were in the late 19th and early 20th century and I especially didn’t know they determined someone’s social standing!

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If you’re interested in fashion design or history, then the Déboutonner la Mode is definitely an exhibit to check out. The button collection will be on display at Les Arts Decoratifs until July 19th, 2015 – for more information visit their website here.

Written by: Jessica Manno

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