Arranged on two stages on either side of the Depardieu Gallery, they face each other and welcome the visitor, like splendid sentinels. In a debauchery of red on one side, this so dazzling tone that is the “red Cardin”, in a camaieu of jet or scintillating black on the other, always of an absolute chic.
“Elles” are the dresses created by the great couturier for his two muses, with whom he maintained a tender friendship: the blonde, the actress Jeanne Moreau, from 1962 to 1966, and the brunette Sylvana Lorenz, from 1985 to 2015 .
Director’s chair, spotlights bathing the room in Harcourt studio-style light, the scenography, signed Bernard Barbero, stage manager at the Nice Opera, is inspired by the 7th art: “I wanted it to be an immersive installation, a cinematic atmosphere”, underlines Sylvana Lorenz, in full-look Cardin.
Dresses created for Jeanne Moreau
Until the music of the films The Bay of Angels (Jacques Demy, 1962) and Eva (Joseph Losey, 1962) which completes to transport us in a glamorous atmosphere, everything has been thought out down to the smallest detail. “Jeanne Moreau being her muse and her tender friend, Pierre Cardin created for her the dresses of these two films, as well as those of Mata Hari, H21 agent by Jean-Louis Richard (1964) and The bride was in blackby Francois Truffaut (1968)”, recalls this former head of artistic communication from 1999 to 2015 at Espace Cardin, in Paris. So many outfits that Sylvana Lorenz acquired during a sale organized by Artcurial in 2020.
And to reinforce the effect produced by these absolutely beautiful pieces, from the evening dress in velvet and satin to the evening coat in sequined crepe enhanced with a vinyl motif, passing by the tunic with kimono sleeves in embroidered black tulle. With sequins, Sylvana Lorenz adorned the walls of the gallery with posters of films in which Jeanne Moreau was the star.
We also discover a black vinyl raincoat, enhanced with milleraies velvet, characteristic of the moose spirit and precursor of Pierre Cardin: “ It was he, and not Saint-Laurent, who invented vinyl! At the time, people thought it was very vulgar, because the Spanish janitors put it on their tables. And he had the idea to make a garment out of it. He also launched square-toed shoes, arrowhead ties, and used neoprene a lot...”
Each item of clothing tells a story, like this taupe woolen fur coat, lined with mink. “It was a unisex coat, which he wore himself. Pierre Cardin never used fur, but Jeanne Moreau being sensitive to the cold, for her, he was an exception to the rule.” The gouaches on paper by the artist Phil de Rodrigue, produced for the occasion, evoke these defining moments. In the center of the room stands the highlight of the exhibition: the “Vestale” dress, all draped, created by Pierre Cardin for Sylvana Lorenz in reference to the fact that she was, according to him, “the high priestess of her cult”. Shaping wonders on her, the couturier created a character for her, dressed all in red and with jet-black hair. Halfway between Barbarella and Emma Peel, the heroine of the series Bowler hat and leather bootswhose costumes he designed.
The Beatles, Col Mao and the Academy of Fine Arts
Just as we also owe this brilliant designer, the first fashion designer to enter the Academy of Fine Arts, the unique look of the Beatles, the Mao collar and perfumes, as the documentary broadcast on a loop reminds us. Pierre Cardin had also acquired the Château de La Coste, known to have been that of the Marquis de Sade, and where he liked to produce shows! On the architectural level, he had imagined the famous Palais Bulles in Théoule-sur-Mer, a property in which Sylvana Lorenz spent so many summers, as evoked by the series of watercolors by Caroline Denis. The touching portraits of the Ukrainian artist Misha Sydorenko also give a soul to the whole.
Vestal if any, indeed, Sylvana Lorenz has just held a conference in Nice about this exhibition (repeated soon in Monaco, read opposite) and the life of Pierre Cardin. Just to prolong the immersion in the resolutely pop, avant-garde, even intergalactic universe of the creator…
Muses of Pierre Cardin. Depardieu Gallery (6, rue du Docteur Guidoni), in Nice. Until February 25. Every day, except Sunday, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free. Info. 09.66.89.02.74.
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