By the end of the Nazi occupation of Paris, the French couture industry lay in tatters, its reputation shredded and its very existence threatened by restrictions, bureaucracy and Germany’s elaborate plan to relocate Haut Couture to Berlin and Vienna. This fascinating lecture will examine how the phoenix of Parisian fashion rose once again from the ashes of war to swiftly and decisively reclaim its long exalted dominance on the world stage. The talk ‘Le Théâtre de la Mode : Paris Haute Couture’ will explore how Paris’s avant-garde created a post war renaissance that fused theatre, ballet, fashion, modern art and opera into one ingenious production and how it became a sensationally powerful economic driver that would bring Paris fashion back to a global audience whilst raising over 1million French Francs for War Relief in 1945 alone.
THE ARTS SOCIETY ACCREDITED LECTURER
Mrs Connie Gray
With a background in fashion and broadcasting, Connie Gray is a specialist in the history of 20th century fashion illustration and its powerful legacy with both the most influential fashion publications internationally and the great couture houses of Paris, London and New York. She is regularly invited to lecture both in the UK and the US and sits on advisory boards at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and Special Collections at FIT, New York. As a curator and archivist, she works closely with institutions and foundations on acquisitions, conservation and exhibition projects. She has been invited to curate specialist exhibitions including most recently Legends Only at Claridge’s Hotel, London in 2022 and 100 Years of Fashion Illustration at The Society of Illustrators, New York. Other specialist exhibitions have included Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Cruise on their flagship ship Queen Mary 2 to celebrate London and New York fashion weeks. As the lead curator for the art gallery Gray M.C.A, she curates the acclaimed exhibition Drawing on Style each year that celebrates the masters of fashion illustration alongside running comprehensive lecture programmes that accompany the exhibitions in London and New York. During the Covid19 pandemic period she wrote and presented a series of on-line masterclasses, talks and short films on the subject of fashion illustration that regularly attracted audiences of over 800 people during each live event.