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‘Secrets of Silhouettes’ exhibition, Grasse

Dive under the skirts of Provençale women at the Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery in Grasse

Behind this exhibition’s sophisticated silhouettes, the Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery in Grasse, on the Côte d’Azur, presents a review of the social mechanisms of the 18th to 20th centuries.

The museum invites visitors to dive under the skirts of Provençale women with an exhibition that examines the basics of the region’s fashion from the 18th century to the start of the 20th.

Visitors get up close and personal with these southern French women, both lowly villagers and the bourgeoisie, who reveal what’s hidden beneath their clothes, from the most rustic to the most delicate. Basketry, crinoline caging, corsets, crayfish tails, faux-leather, chemises de corps (vests)... these bygone-era names are revived to allow a peek inside the Provençale woman’s dressing room, as visitors browse around 100 pieces from the museum’s collection and other private collections.

A stone's throw from the Fragonard factory

Besides having aesthetic value, this ‘deconstruction’ of silhouettes measures the social mechanisms of the different periods covered by the exhibition, observing the codes by which the composition of the costumes corresponded with the social class of their owners.

Housed in the Clapiers-Cabris mansion, the Musée du Costume et du Bijou is one of the museums associated with the Fragonard perfume house. It’s a short walk from the historic perfumer’s factory, which can be visited at the same time.

Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery in Grasse, Provence