In the late 1950s, the fashion world began to experience a major shift, with haute cou- ture’s star waning and more relaxed, youthful garments gaining favor with trendsetters. Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 examines the significant role the French capital played in this transition from the time Yves Saint Laurent became the creative director of the House of Dior at age 21 and the year André Courrèges opened his first New York boutique. By 1968, they and other designers were producing ready-to- wear lines in addition to couture creations.
To provide context, the show begins with a display of about 30 haute couture pieces dating from 1957 to 1960, including a Saint Laurent trapeze dress, one of the harbingers of the new fashion paradigm. Next are some 80 groundbrea- king fashions presented as if in a 1960s boutique, among them a Pierre Cardin minidress once worn by Lauren Bacall, a faux-fur-trimmed pantsuit by “Queen of Knits” Sonia Rykiel, an “Op Art” dress by prêt-à-porter pioneer Emmanuelle Khanh, and Karl Lagerfeld’s floor-length, hand-painted “Astoria” dress.