Dalida, her Wardrobe On and Off-Stage
When I was in Paris, I had the considerable pleasure of seeing an exhibition of the extensive wardrobe of renowned singer Dalida, showing the Palais Galliera. The Palais is a stunning example of 19th century architecture, and is devoted to the exhibition of fine fashion, clothing and textile design. It houses its own collections, workshops and ateliers, and shows a diverse range of wardrobes from an equally diverse range of eras, designers, performers, and celebrities. For the lovers of fashion, textiles and fine couture, this museum is a must-see.
Dalida, born Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti, was an incredibly popular singer and actress born of Italian parents on January 17th 1933 in Cairo, Egypt. She was immensely revered in France, and indeed Europe and the rest of the world, for many years.
Dalida. Queen of French celebrity, with so many distinctions. She was unique. Incroyable!
Worldwide, millions of people appreciated her French beauty, style, and theatre. This stunning wardrobe collection was recently donated to the museum by her brother, Orlando. Dalida performed and recorded in more than ten languages, including Arabic, Italian, Greek, German, French, English, Japanese, Hebrew, Dutch and Spanish, and ranks among the 7 biggest singers of all time. In 1957, Dalida was the first artist to be awarded a gold record in France, and earned more than 70 in her career. She was the first singer to receive platinum and diamond discs.
She was the first female recording artist to have her own fan club. I know I'd have been in it. Dalida developed an amazonian presence over the years. I can imagine she was riveting.
Dalida was an Egyptian beauty, celebrated singer, and a lover of fashion.
With a figure to die for – even as she matured – and a willingness to be sheathed in haute couture or prêt-à-porter, she was beloved by the great fashion houses of her time.
As her fame grew, and as the exhibition progresses through the timeline, Dalida blurred the lines between stage wear and daywear. Her flamboyance resulted in impressive costumes and streetwear created by the most celebrated designers across three decades, added to and developed by her own sense of design, fashion, and theatre. She was born to be on stage.
Her garde-robe is fascinating.
The detailing, styles, and colours of her wardrobe is impressive. For the lovers of couture – either wearing, watching, or creating – the quality of craftsmanship, exquisite handiwork, and luxurious fabrics will leave you spell-bound. Everything bespoke. I wanted to get inside of the garments, see how they were made, and soak up every detail.
I couldn't embed this link, by request from the contributor, but visit 'Dalida: Monday, Tuesday...' to watch the classic video of this song. It plays in the exhibition, and so I think I will always remember it. The dress she is wearing onstage is shown below, in the white and orange feather detail.
‘Dalida was archetypically Mediterranean – both sunny and tragic'
According to the press release about the collection, Dalida was at once theatrical and gregarious, alternately sliding into melancholy or depression. You would imagine that she lived the life of someone touched only by extraordinary greatness, fantasy, and richness. However, fuelled by a series of tragedies, and one already unsuccessful attempt on her own life, she ended her own life during the night of the 2 - 3rd of May 1987.
The world had lost a great Diva.
Her last note to the world read:
‘La vie m'est insupportable... pardonnez-moi'.
'Life has become unbearable for me...forgive me’.
Listen, and watch, this incredible video 'Je Suis Malade'.
If you're watching on a device, turn it around and get full screen, and amp up the sound.
If you've got the luxury that I have, I stream it full-screen to my big, beautiful TV, through my pretty sound system.
I realised when I saw this rendition, which was in her later years, that probably no-one in the audience - at that time - understood, or 'saw' - her very real suffering.
'Je suis malade' ... 'I am sick'. In genteel circles perhaps 'I am unwell'.
It sounds much sexier in French. She was beautiful, sexy ... had it all?
It took a bit of finding, without ads.
The team at the Palais Galliera did an incredible job of presenting this delicious 3-dimensional, audio-visual exhibition, which cannot fail to impress. Sadly, the exhibition is over.
As of Jan 2020, the venue is closed, undergoing transformative works which will double the exhibition space and enable them to display treasures which are normally hidden. Yay!
The Palais is situated at 10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75116, Paris. They do a remarkable array of fashion-focussed exhibitions and the standard is superbe, madame!
Full price admission and concessions are available, and the Palais Galliera is accessible to persons with disabilities. Check their website for more detailed information.
Highly recommend anything they do *****
For more information
Interested in reading her story in French? 'Dalida' is available on Amazon.
10-day Tours to the French Riviera
Small-group Tours for Women staying on the Côte d'Azur
Discover the Côte d'Azur: Visit Villefranche sûr Mer, the hilltop village of Èze, the gentle town of Antibes, vieux Nice, artsy St Paul de Vence, and more. Tour the Villa et Jardins de Rothschild and the divine Villa Kerylos, and dine in any of the fabulous restaurants in the region.