Our last night in Paris I dreamed of Karl Lagerfeld, the maestro of the house of Chanel. He strode about in my dream dressed in his usual snug black suit–but his shirt was fuschia not blinding white–and he had removed his ubiquitous dark glasses. In the dream his eyes were warm brown and revealed a kind and amused man. Amused at the world in which he operates and amused at the conversation we were having. I haven’t ever dreamed about Karl Lagerfeld before.
We spent most of a day at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. One of the installations displayed pieces from a recent Chanel collection on manikins lounging upon priceless furniture from the museum’s collection.
Part of the display was a video of the presentation of that fall collection held at the Glass Palace in Paris which made a great impression on me. In person, the intricacies of the dresses were just as unbelievable as the inlay of tiny pieces of wood and ivory in the furniture or the elaborate gold paint on a mirror were. The fabric of the clothing was made of sequins sewn so beautifully it appeared to be a solid piece of shimmering cloth.
The placement of the whimsical fashion collection with the priceless jewelry, furniture, ceramic, silver, glass and so on that makes up the permanent collection at the museum summarizes for me all that I love about Paris.
Sometimes the officious and imponderable workings of the French mind annoy or baffle me, but over all the whimsy and the desire to join new with old excites and thrills me. This museum and its trompe l’oeil exhibition delighted me. I think I can forgive a certain amount of rigidity if it’s leavened by humor and reverence for beauty.