Click here for more details (in French).
Structured chronologically, the exhibition reveals the incredible history of the button, showing via this extraordinary collection how it perfectly reflects the creativity and humour of a period. Pictures, engravings, drawings and fashion photographs emphasize its importance on the garment and how crucial it is in creating the balance of a silhouette. Since its appearance in the 13th century, the button has maintained its key role on the garment. Its production and use gradually developed but the golden age of the button in France did not come until the late 18th century, when it became a luxury item often more expensive than the garment itself. More than a mere ornament, it was also a means of conveying penchants and opinions, via humorous, intimate and even political messages (portraits of the royal family, scenes showing storming of the Bastille, etc.). However, not until around 1780 and the French craze for all things English, did the button appear in female fashion, on dresses and bodices with cuts inspired by male garments. In the 19th-century male wardrobe the art of the button gave way to the art of buttoning. now smaller and more discreet, the button came to denote the degree of refinement of a garment or level of distinction of its wearer. the attention paid to its positioning is particularly apparent on that most essential component of the male wardrobe, the waistcoat. With the industrial revolution in the second half of the 19th century button manufacturing developed into a full-scale industry mass-producing all sizes and colours of buttons for every type of garment and accessory.