Théâtre de la Mode at Phoenix Art Museum

This Saturday, the Phoenix Art Museum gives a historic look into the world of Théâtre de la Mode -- the fashion dolls that helped keep couture alive during World War II.


The 27-inch-tall mannequins have been dressed by the world's greatest couturiers of the 20th century; Balmain, Nina Ricci, Balenciaga and other designers created works in pint-size forms during Germany's occupation of France in the 1940s.

"Because there was so little fabric, they did them in about 1/4 scale," says the Phoenix Art Museum's Curator of Fashion Design Dennita Sewell.

"They traveled the world with sets built by artists and clothes by couturiers in exact replicas -- not like doll clothes, but how they would build them for a person."


These sets and their occupants, created by visionary designers, jewelers, and milliners traveled the globe to reaffirm Paris as the fashion capital of the world, even during times of war. 


Théâtre de la Mode at Phoenix Art Museum
photo courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum

Three original sets from the collection will be displayed at the museum March 12 through July 31. The exhibit will also feature several speakers and events throughout its stay including a gallery talk with Sewell and a showing of the film "The Théâtre de la Mode."


The Phoenix Art Museum is located at 1625 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. For more information, check out the museum website


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