1997 Fashion Big Bang at Palais Galliera – March 7 – July 16

Dear Shaded Viewers,

I just returned from the must see exhibition “1997 Fashion Big Bang” at the Palais Galliera. I was fortunate enough to be living in Paris and working for Joyce Ma covering all of the shows and it was like a trip through fashion history and some of the most memorable fashion show experiences I’ve ever had.

1997 was a decisive year in the history of contemporary fashion. It not only was a consecration of the fashion of the 90’s but it was a turning point for the new millennium. I am happy to say that I lived through this period as at that time I was the fashion editor for Joyce Ma’s JOYCE. There was a frantic succession of collections, shows and events that shaped fashion as we know it today. 1997 could be considered the launch of 21st century fashion. Looking at the images of Comme des Garçons “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” left an indelible impact of all that witnessed the show. Another emblematic collection was the conceptualised clothes by Martin Margiela with the “Stockman” collection. “Black Palms” by Raf Simons showed another side of male beauty with young skinny models walking the catwalk you could almost feel their bones growing.

Vogue Paris magazine defined the spring-summer 1997 haute couture season as the “Big Bang” that Paris needed to regain its position as the international capital of fashion at a time of economic crisis and strong global competition. The year 1997 was indeed a vintage year, with the entry into haute couture of the star designers of the 1980s, such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, while a new generation of British designers took over the historic French houses, like Alexander McQueen at Givenchy and John Galliano at Christian Dior.

The phenomenon of globalisation accelerated, foreshadowing the 2000s and 2010s. Young, little-known artistic directors emerged, alone or at the head of major houses: Hedi Slimane, Stella McCartney, Nicolas Ghesquière, Olivier Theyskens… Names that are still shaping fashion today. Finally, a whole series of events marks the beginning of a new era, such as the inauguration of the Colette concept store, the epicentre of fashion for 20 years, or a rupture with, for example, the tragic death of Gianni Versace.

The chronological tour brings together more than 50 silhouettes from the collections of the Palais Galliera, loans from museums, international collectors and fashion houses. It is enriched by as many videos and unpublished archive documents.
The 1997 Fashion Big Bang exhibition is an invitation to live or relive the most important events that marked this “explosive” year in the history of fashion.

Curated by:

Alexandre Samson,

responsable de collections, départements haute couture (à partir de 1947) et création contemporaine du Palais Galliera

assisté de Louise Habert

Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris
10, avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, Paris 16e

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.