Eternity Dress. Photo : © Katerina Jebb, 2013

Eternity Dress. Photo : © Katerina Jebb, 2013

For the second consecutive year, the Palais Galliera participates to the Festival d'Automne à Paris. After The Impossible Wardrobe (2012), the Palais Galliera presents Eternity Dress, a performance designed by Olivier Saillard, director of the Fashion museum of the City of Paris, starring Tilda Swinton. At the Beaux-Arts de Paris until November 24th, 2013.
As sure as summer follows spring and winter autumn, new fashion collections come out to last a season. The growing number of garments designed and shows held is met with concern yet accepted. Fashion, which we were told is visionary, has lost an eye. Amid sustained viral and stuttering outlines, few make a strong impression.

Eternity Dress is a performance built on the creation of one single dress. Every stage of its design has been conceived so as to slow down, to linger over each gesture that contributes to the making of the garment. The taking of measurements, which marks the beginning of the whole thinking process, turns out to be an exercise in body arithmetic full of poetry and mystery. Inch by inch, a veritable cadastre of the female figure emerges, an academy of the garment. Waist size, hip size, lower hip measurement, mid back length/bust depth, upper arm, elbow bent, etc. are serious measurements and indications which lead to a frivolous frock.

Tracing the pattern on craft paper produces the enigmatic design, which transferred onto the beige cotton canvas, shapes the pieces and volumes of a gown in the making. Cutting and assembling in the chosen fabric, a solemn business, completes this practical demonstration, for which the Palais Galliera, Olivier Saillard learnt to cut, stitch and pin onto the body of Tilda Swinton.

In the storerooms of the museum, flannel remnants left by two inspectors, teachers and dressmakers, sticklers for technique, were unearthed. Piped and patch pockets, Peter Pan and Riviera collars, all stray pieces, served as the supreme guide to students of cutting schools in the fifties and sixties. This ill-known archaeology of the trade is the foundation of the dress design. For it is not a matter of inventing yet another dress. 

Eternity Dress is the shadow cast by all the gowns of the 20th century; it is a pictogram that embodies the quintessence of the whole history of fashion; fashion that disappears and then is back in a flash. It belongs to everyone. Every night the dress is made and unmade in the hustle and bustle of the workshop on display.


Olivier Saillard / Tilda Swinton

20 - 24 November 2013

A performance designed by Olivier Saillard, director of the Palais Galliera, Fashion museum of the City of Paris
With Tilda Swinton
Festival d'Automne à Paris, 2013

With the collaboration of Katerina Jebb

Lights, Stéphanie Daniel
Music, MODE-F

With the support of the Maison CHLOÉ, Paris

A book entitled 'Impossible wardrobes' is published by Rizzoli international publications (2015).
Listen again to the soundtrack of this show, by MODE-F (2013).  

Palais Galliera : Anne de Nesle & Caroline Chenu, +33 (0)1 56 52 86 08 /
PR Consulting : Nathalie Ours & Romain Roz, +33 (0)1 73 54 19 53 /