Thursday, February 4, 2016

Art and Food Pairing™: Les Grandes Robes de Lamyne M. and Ivoire Gourmand - Part 1

If you've never been to the basilica at Saint-Denis, famous for its royal necropolis, now there's a unique reason to visit.

The exhibition entitled Les Grandes Robes de Lamyne M. (The Giant Gowns of Lamyne M.) is one of the most extraordinary that you'll ever see. It's being held at the basilica. Originally scheduled through April 30, 2016, it is being prolonged through July 2 to coincide with the Festival Saint-Denis. Tom and I were invited to attend opening of the exhibition hosted by the designer of the gowns, Lamyne M.

Saint-Denis Basilica
© Discover Paris!

Les Grandes Robes information panel
© Discover Paris!

I first brought you news of plans for Les Grandes Robes in 2014, when I covered a fashion show of Lamyne's works that was held on a canal boat cruise. Professor Maya Thebault and students from La Source, a vocational high school in the town of Nogent that trains textile professionals, were on that cruise. They gave a presentation of the project before the fashion show began.

Les Grandes Robes is inspired by the medieval garments represented by the gisants (recumbent statues, or effigies) of French queens and princesses whose remains are located at the basilica. The garments have been created in contemporary fabrics commonly worn by Saint-Denis residents - examples include African wax, denim, jersey, and ceremonial cloths from North Africa. Students from La Source, as well as women from Saint-Denis' Floréal district, worked to create the gowns on display.

Blanche de France gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Eight gowns are being shown in the basilica. Seven of these fashion creations measure three meters (9.8 feet) in height; the eighth (Jeanne II de France) is an astounding four meters (13.1 feet) tall! Six are displayed in the crypt and the remaining two, including the tallest, are found in the apse.

Jeanne II de France gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Lamyne M. looks up at Marguerite de Flandres gown
© Images and collage by Discover Paris!

Lamyne's intent in creating these garments was to pay homage to the grandeur of women and to begin a dialogue between the historic and the contemporary. He notes that many of the citizens of Saint-Denis would never think of coming to the basilica because they do not find themselves reflected in it. His gowns bridge the gap between France's monocultural past and the numerous cultures that intermingle in the city of Saint-Denis today. (Over 120 nationalities comprise the current population of Saint-Denis.)

Each gown tells a story. For example, the vibrant red of the gown that represents Constance de Castille recalls her death from excessive hemorrhage during childbirth. The cloth is African Wax.

Constance de Castille gown
© Discover Paris!

The numerous shirt collars and ties that comprise the gown representing Isabelle d'Aragon evoke the white collar workers who commute to Saint-Denis' Plaine district but who know little to nothing of the community that lives outside their office windows.

Isabelle d'Aragon gown
© Discover Paris!

The exhibition was curated by Franciade, an association dedicated to promoting the cultural heritage of Saint-Denis, and the Saint-Denis Basilica. Additional information about the exhibition can be found on the Saint-Denis national monuments Web site.

Following our visit to the exhibition, a reception was held where we spoke with Lamyne, the designer of the gowns. He told me about an African restaurant called Ivoire Gourmand that is roughly ten minutes' walk from the basilica. Tom and I went there for lunch immediately after the reception. I'll tell you all about it in Part 2 of this Art and Food Pairing™ post next week.

Monique and Lamyne M. at reception
© Discover Paris!

For information about Lamyne M., visit his Web site at


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

If you like this posting, share it with your friends by using one of the social media links below!

No comments: