You know, it’s that big apple green building on la Seine. The one I’ve been gazing at from the metro for the past 5 years and wondering what in the world it was. (Contemporary in style and illuminated at night, it was designed by architects Jakob+MacFarlane.) Home to fashion school L’Institut Français de la Mode, Les Docks opened in April with the goal of being the center of fashion and design in more ways than one. The HUGE space is currently home to the Museum Galliera, La Résidence Atelier (currently housing Yiqing Yin, a newly appointed guest member to the Chambre syndicale de la Haute Couture), concept and design stores, restaurants and clubs. As if that’s not enough, the space also boasts what is probably the largest terrasse (rooftop) in the city of Paris. I dined at Moon Roof for lunch (tip: get a milkshake) earlier this month and now the restaurant/bar/cinema/club Wanderlust is open with a fantastic line-up of events, from lectures and brunch to parties. Oh, and club Le Baron will open on the rooftop in August.
Moving onto the exhibits. Cristóbal Balenciaga, Collectionneur de Modes features the designs of the couturier des couturiers between 1937 and 1968. Set in a rather industrial rectangular space, clothing was displayed above drawers which revealed intricate embroidery, collars and sketches. Of course an assortment of boleros, capes, lace or folkloric embroidered dresses did not disappoint.
The next exhibit is entitled COMME des GARÇONS White Drama. The clothing here may come as quite a surprise (and contrast to the former exhibit) in that it is entirely composed of the holy and ceremonial inspired Spring 12 collection. Perhaps more installation than exhibit, and every last bit Rei Kawakubo, the all-white garments were displayed inside giant plastic bubbles. It made for a memorable experience, and one that was also interesting to see the garments and craftsmanship from all angles.
At the time of my visit, a photo and illustrator exhibit was featured outdoors on the open passageway of les Docks overlooking la Seine. La Biennale des Créateurs d’Images was part of the launch of Les Docks cultural space and featured a variety of works designed around the them of “The House.” If you want to catch this one, go now as it ends on June 30th.
Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design
34 quai d’Austerlitz
*Balenciaga & COMME des GARÇONS exhibits run until October 7, 2012.