An exhibition: Fashion scandals over the centuries

“Tu t’es habillé dans le noir?“, “Du trägst nur einen Fetzen“, “Mutton dressed as lamb“ – Those and other sentences written on the entrance wall welcome you to the exhibition in the Musée des Arts decoratifs at Paris’ rue de Rivoli. The exhibition’s title “Tenue Correcte Exigée“ can be translated as ’correct outfit required’ …but who defines what a correct outfit looks like and which garments are deemed ’too big’, ’too short’, ’too tight’ or ’too colorful’?

Covering fashion history from the 14th century until today, the exhibition brings into question which fashions were considered inappropriate or even scandalous in their time. The approximately 300 exhibits include dresses, accessories, shoes, and portraits, among others.

Below you can find a selection of outfits you can admire:


Thierry Muglers AW 97/98 dress resembles an insect and was considered as very extreme.


Walter von Beirendonck’s AW 96/97 collection included a hairy-looking shirt. A new scandal was born.


Those minidresses – photographed in 1969 – fall in the category ’too short’.


Even though we think that anything goes today, Rick Owens proved us wrong: His last year’s collection caused a furor when he sent his male models down the runway without pants.


The exhibition also makes links between the present and the past: For instance you can find a screen that shows current commercials for men’s skin care products next to the part of the exhibition that presents the scandalous exaggeration of beauty care of the 1820s dandys.

When looking at pieces of other centuries you can also get an idea of where today’s designers get their inspirations from:


Jeffrey Campbell’s heelless shoes (right) were probably inspired by the ’chopines’ (left) which were popular from around the 15th to the 17th century. You are able to see chopines with insanely high plateaux in the exhibition as well.

Almost every style had its time as a no-go throughout history… but isn’t that exactly what we are waiting for? What makes fashion exciting? In the exhibition you can observe the changes of fashions from one extreme to another: Once a new trend is adopted by everyone on the street and once certain styles can’t become more extreme anymore, the complete opposite is reintroduced. This evolution of styles is truly timeless.

Some of the items will make you chuckle, some pieces will amaze you, but the time journey of extremes is definitely worth the travels.

You can visit the exposition until 23 April 2017. We are excited to hear which scandalous looks you liked best!


By Vivien Gilow

Images via Musée des Arts decoratifs and Pinterest

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