The opening gown of this exhibition was designed by Thierry Mugler. A velvet dress with trompe-l’oeil butterfly pattern in the back cut-out, made by Maison Lemarié with peacock feathers, rooster feathers, eagle feathers and feathers from a bird of paradise. A huge butterfly is suggested by means of feathers in the open back of the dress. This way, a link is created between the butterfly, woman and bird in a surreal creation that emphasises the woman’s uniqueness and exotic nature. She herself is thus presented as a bird of paradise.
The image of the ‘femme oiseau’ (bird woman) has been a popular theme ever since the era of Romanticism. In those days, women were compared to birds, the symbol of innocence and lightness. In this case, however, it looks more like a seductive femme fatale due to the exotic and bold plumage.
The gown is called Métamorphose d’une chrysalids en femme papillon and was shown by model Simonetta Gianfelici during the finale at Mugler’s Haute Couture show of Spring-Summer of 1997, presenting feathered creations inspired by butterflies and surreal dragonflies.