The Comédie-Française puts its costumes on sale for fashion enthusiasts

Costumes
Costumes Copyright Comédie-Française
By Sylvia Omorodion
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Calling all aficionados of theatre, fashion history, and unique pieces, as every Thursday, until the end of April, Comédie-Française unveils a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to purchase costumes from its reserves of exceptional and historic outfits.

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For the first three month of the year, the Comédie-Française hosted a weekly sale featuring a curated selection of costumes meticulously crafted in its own workshops.

From embroidered dresses, shirts, overcoats, and uniforms, each piece carries within them the history of the theatre and the memory of the Repertoire.

It's the same sale it ran last year to great success, selling nearly 400 costumes. 

So if you remember John Cena appearing nearly naked to present the Academy Award for Best Costume this month, then you might remember what he said: “Costumes – they are so important,” the actor said. “Maybe the most important thing there is.”

Costumes for sale
Costumes for saleComédie-Française

Each costume from the theatre comes with a distinctive label, showcasing the name of the actor or character who graced the stage in it, the title of the associated play, and the year of the performance, and the prices which range from €30 for a shirt to €400 for an ensemble composed of an embroidered coat, a gilet and a culotte.

Established in 1680 by Louis XIV, the Sun King himself, the Comédie-Française holds the distinguished title of the world's oldest active theatre company. Steeped in history and tradition, the theatre has become a symbol of French dramatic excellence, a place where the legacy of Molière, Racine, and other literary giants lives on.

Collars galore
Collars galoreComédie-Française

Costumes with a story

Costumes stored in the reserves of the Comédie-Française are often used until they are worn out, accustomed to being worn well after their creation and undergoing transformations for subsequent performances.

"All pieces are custom made in our ateliers. Each one for a specific member of the company. It's like couture," Oscar Héliani

The reserves notably house numerous male costumes dating from the 18th century and vests dating from the reign of Louis XVI. While some women's costumes are restitutions of Watteau pleated dresses from the time of Louis XV.

Frock off!
Frock off!Comédie-Française

According to the theatre, at the time of the Restoration in 1815, noble emigrants, returning to France after the Revolution and the Empire, who no longer had use of their court costumes from the time of Louis XVI, donated them to the Comédie-Française to use them in the Repertoire.

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