Say “Bonjour” to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Those who love fashion, art and design can immerse themselves in one of the world’s most thrilling collections of design and decorative arts at the exquisite Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Though not widely known as a must-visit site for tourists, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, or MAD for short, is the second oldest museum in Paris after the Louvre.
Its history dates back to 1882 when a group of collectors joined together with the idea of forging links between culture and industry, design and production. Today the museum stays true to its original aim: “to keep alive in France the culture of the arts which seek to make useful things beautiful”. Originally it was known as the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, but in 2018 the museum changed its name to MAD. As well as being the acronym for the museum, MAD stands for Mode (French for Fashion), Art and Design, to remind people what they will find within the museum.
Within its eclectic permanent collection, MAD boasts more than 788,000 objects, encompassing furniture, textiles, fashion design, jewelry, tableware, and graphic arts. A visit to the museum may feature Sèvres porcelain, architectural drawings, and complete period rooms ranging from a medieval bedroom to the boudoir of legendary couturier Jeanne Lanvin designed in the 1920s. The museum’s fashion collection rivals that of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Costume Institute of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Recent fashion exhibitions have featured retrospectives on Balenciaga, Vionnet, Christian Dior, and Dries Van Noten. Despite its pedigree, the museum still manages to have a little fun. In 2016, MAD mounted an exhibit on Barbie, and the museum’s ground-floor restaurant Loulou keeps the Parisian glitterati fed and watered until 2am!
If a trip to Paris isn’t in your future, you can still be inspired by designs from the MAD archives. We’ve partnered with the museum to develop a collection based on watercolor illustrations of passementerie dating from the 1700s. This collection aims to carry on MAD’s tradition of preserving and furthering the arts by bringing a little 18th-century flair to your home.
Stay tuned for more patterns from MAD in our next collections!