ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  exhibitions

Musée d’art et d’histoire

2, rue Charles-Galland
Case postale 3432
CH – 1211 Geneva 3

Exhibition Organization
Director of the Musées d’Art et d’Histoire : Cäsar Menz
Exhibition Curator : Alexandre Fiette
T +41 (0)22 418 25 49

Visitor Services
T +41 (0)22 418 25 00
F +41 (0)22 418 25 01

Press Office : Catherine Terzaghi
T +41 (0)22 418 26 54
F +41 (0)22 418 26 01

opening hours:
Open 10am-5pm
Closed on Mondays

entrance fees:
Entrance fee Fr. 5.00
Fr. 3.00 (reductions);
free of charge up to age 18


Mode, passion et collection

Le regard d'une femme

2 October 2003 - 7 March 2004

richly illustrated catalogue, published by Editions d’art Somogy, Paris


Press release

Fashion, A Collector's Passion - One Woman's View

The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire will present a panorama of fashion since 1966, starting on October 2. Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain, « the red-haired model », began her career with Yves Saint-Laurent. Guided by her passion, taste and knowledge of the world of high fashion she has compiled a collection of over two thousand garments and accessories carrying the labels of the greatest creators, which illustrates some of the most significant moments in the history of couture while also offering a fascinating voyage through the world of fashion during the last quarter of the XXth century. Exhibiting fashion as art is the premise of this event that shows a selection of over 160 outfits and accessories from among the most important creators of the period.

1966 - Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain approached Yves Saint Laurent. Moved by the modernity of this young woman who incarnated everything he wished to express in his designs, he decided to hire her on the spot. The career of the woman who came to be known as Danielle, the red-haired model, had just begun.


  In the course of the long sessions of posing during which the designs came into being, not a word was spoken but they understood each other perfectly. « Without fully realizing it at the time, I must have been able to sense what he was fashioning on me, and to support and reassure him, by my bearing, in his act of creation » recalls the woman who inspired in the young Yves Saint Laurent outfits with a whiff of scandal about them. She was the one wearing « le smoking » revealed to the press in 1968 whose see-through blouse of « cigaline » fabric revealed her bust and, the following season, a black muslin dress upon which only a band of ostrich feathers at pelvis level veiled her nudity. At Dior, some years later, Danielle worked for the haute couture collections created by Marc Bohan as well as for Miss Dior, the young boutique line of this famous fashion house on the Avenue Montaigne. There, she even accepted to relinquish her position as model for that of artistic advisor. The encounter between this woman passionate about fashion with Claude Montana marked the beginning of a long friendship. For this then unknown designer, she contributed to his first shows, posed for him so that he could create his designs, and modeled for the showing of his collections. When Claude Montana, then at the height of his fame, was offered the direction of Lanvin haute couture, Danielle was still with him, helping him with rehearsals before the fashion shows.

  A discreet personality in the world of couture, Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain developed a passion, which led to her putting together an important ensemble of labeled garments, with examples selected from haute couture and designer ready-to-wear. Her wardrobe soon turned into a clearly defined collection. Each item is chosen for what it could be made to say when worn by the collector; what her body in movement thus clothed could express. Therein lies the skill of a model. This selection is also influenced by personal taste, showing a preference for materials over decoration. An account of the heritage constituted by the art of clothing is also present. The work of the designers and couturiers chosen illustrates significant moments in the history of fashion, of which it presents a near-exhaustive panorama from the last quarter of the 20th century. Finally, each element in this vast ensemble, whether it is an item of clothing or an accessory, has been selected for the possible combinations it has to offer. For Danielle, fashion is not a question of slavishly following its dictates, she composes, associates and mixes to create and materialize what she draws from her inspiration and what she feels.

Today, Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain has chosen to share with others what she has been permitted to receive. For her « to collect is to memorize so as to pass on ». In entrusting her important collection to the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire of Geneva she has fulfilled her aim. Almost 160 outfits, some with hats, shoes and jewellery, are exhibited, chosen from the thousands of items of clothing and accessories. Inevitably biased, the selection of the objects was carried out with the aim of underlining the spirit of the collection, its diversity, but also its particularities.

This explains the presence of nearly thirty haute couture items labeled Yves Saint Laurent illustrating ten years of his couture house’s creation. Choosing a score of designs by Claude Montana amongst the hundreds found in the collection was almost impossible. It proved necessary to define the career of the man who has so strongly marked the last twenty years of fashion design. From the time he spent at Lanvin, 24 outfits of dazzling technical virtuosity and inventiveness form a unique testimony to the talent of this designer turned couturier. From Lecoanet Hemant, past masters in the art of draping, eight pieces demonstrate with brio this duo’s savoir-faire and dazzling spirit of their couture. Christian Lacroix for Jean Patou, and then under his own label, is also represented by several items illustrating his incomparable style, which gave new luster to haute couture at a time when everything seemed to be calling it into question. The work of Romeo Gigli, permeated with references to the past, is evoked through the sumptuous embroidered coats created by him around 1990. Azzedine Alaïa, well known for his jersey fabric that sculpts women’s bodies, is also represented by garments illustrating his famous mastery of the art of tailoring. As for the less recent items, mention must be made of the astonishing creations of Paco Rabanne, mixing couture and handicrafts, as of a dress by Christiane Bailly, a blouson by Roland Chakkal, a pair of shorts from the boutique Dorothée Bis, proof of the influence of designers who captured the spirit of street fashion at that time. The work of 31 major designers and couturiers is thus evoked in this exhibition, which will be open for view at the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire until 7th March 2004.

home content Last revised October 15, 2003 For further information contact Anne Wanner