A day in Paris by Esprit de France #21

azzedine-alaia-je-suis-couturier par Esprit de France
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Hôtel Brighton
hôtel Brighton de la collection Esprit de France

Paris, a cultural melting-pot

On the right bank, a tribute exhibition is presented in the very space where Azzedine Alaïa, the great Franco-Tunisian couturier organized his haute couture fashion shows. It showcases about forty haute couture dresses that retrace his entire career, attesting the sculptural approach of this outstanding creator, who died last November 18th. Ultimate heir of a tradition that goes back to Madeleine Vionnet and Balenciaga, Alaïa pursued the dream of beauty both modern and timeless, anchored in its time and reflecting a classic sense of form. From the short and zippered stretch-jersey dress from 1981, his first big hit, to the pleated and long chiffon dresses from last season, his style remains unique. He always strives to enhance the curves of the female body, highlighting the waist, eliminating any static effect by a continuous momentum of forms and a prodigious search constantly renewed. Leaving the exhibition, immediately on your right, take the time to taste the delicious creations of Maison d’Aleph that revisit the oriental pastry with refinement.

On the left bank, past the Eiffel Tower, you will be puzzled by the five golden bulbs crowning the last building built along the Seine: this is the new Orthodox Church of Paris. Very elegant with its pearl white outer walls and the matte gold of its flared bulbs, it gives a strong feeling of disorientation in the capital cityscape. A few steps away, this feeling of disorientation is amplified by the visit of the new exhibition of the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paintings From Afar.

Exposition Quai Branly par Esprit de France

Nearly two hundred works from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, covering the full colonial expansion, from the museum's collection, reveal the Western perception of distant or not-so-distant populations, societies and territories. It is a true mirror of the artistic and political history since we can distinguish the evolutions of this Western perception: from the Orient dreamed by the Orientalists to the controlled exoticism of day-to-day life in Cairo depicted by Emile Bernard, without forgetting the drawings of Tahiti by Matisse or Gauguin for whom it was more a question of dealing with pictorial issues than with social ones. At the end of this exhibition questioning the visitor about the Elsewhere, you may wish to continue with another exhibition devoted to the civilizations that flourished in the north of Peru before the arrival of the Incas, unless you want to have dinner at Les Ombres, a restaurant that combines gastronomy with a panoramic view. Indeed, this haven of peace, located in the heart of the museum garden and totally glazed, offers an outstanding view of the Eiffel Tower and the quality of its cuisine, due to chef Frédéric Claudel, is inventive and refined. You still have many discoveries to make at Quai Branly.