During the course of the first year, first year MA Fashion Studies students are introduced to fashion museum practices in their course ‘Curating Fashion’, taught by Professor Laurent Cotta, head of graphic design at Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of Paris. During this class, students have a project in which they are to study a museological practice (Collecting, Inventory, Exhibiting, and Conserving) in relation to a piece in the museum’s collection, and will present their findings in an exhibition at the end of the semester.

Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to visit the storage depot of Palais Galliera, where many historic pieces of clothing are kept. During the three workshops held there, MAFS students were able to meet the staff and study the archives of the museum, where clothing is wrapped in archival paper, tucked in drawers or meticulously hung in order to preserve the pieces.

During the first visit, students learned about museum practices, such as proper conservation techniques and the administrative work behind the collections. They were also able to visit the lower levels of the depot, where they saw historical pieces from different time periods, including some garments created by Paul Poiret.



The second workshop was dedicated to learning about how to document their chosen objects. Professor Cotta presented the different types of mannequins available in the museum, and explained how to choose the one that works best with each garment. In this session, they also discovered preservation techniques through the analysis of 19th century men’s vests, a 1930s Chanel suit, and a 2015 Iris Van Harpen jacket.

In the third visit, students learned about mannequinage, which is the practice of molding a mannequin for display. It consists of padding a mannequin to the measurements of the garment so that it looks like a realistic body, and finally dressing the mannequin in the garment as well as any supportive garments needed.

The final exhibition will be held on May 17th and May 18th, 2019 at the Mona Bismarck American Center.

Written by Sandra Mathey and Amanda Stedman

Photos by Nicolette Contursi, Sandra Mathey and Amanda Stedman