Cabinet of Wonder

December 2nd, 2012

From our latest Isabel Toledo Pueblo lace dress to a papier mâché tiger head I brought back from in India, and each and every piece I select each season for SEPTIEME ETAGE, collecting inspires me with Wonder with a capital W. I have always had a penchant for collecting. Be it shells, feathers, or gauzy gowns, each piece I bring home and treasure is a piece I found a bit of myself in. No wonder I was smitten when a friend introduced me to the latest publication by the Editions Macula publishing house “Les Cabinets d’art et de merveilles de la Renaissance tardive”.

At SEPTIEME ETAGE we seek to recreate that sense of wonder that the old cabinets of curiosity aroused. And I am intrigued by how the same amazement and marvel is manifested today – be it in clothing, jewelry, or in artistic discourse. For those collections, precursors to museums, provided a solace and retreat for contemplation. The symbolic arrangement of their display was ceremoniously presented to visitors. We are delighted to introduce the juxtapositions by Florie Dupont, a young jewelry designer equally fascinated with the Wunderkammer aesthetic – and will let you marvel at the juxtaposition of her work, our Christmas window display, and the texts of Julius Von Schlosser at our Cabinet of Wonder Vernissage Thursday, December 6th from 6pm-8pm , and until January 6th.



A “Cabinet de Curiosities” or “Wunderkammer” was made up of natural wonders, including plants, creatures or their fossilized remains, and geological oddities, as well as man-made works, such as art, sculpture, scientific instruments, and weapons. Their range was a vast as the imagination could run – from strings of carved amber among the exotic shells, curious flasks, and a blue-and-white Ming porcelain bowl, a dodo, armadillos to artificial curiosities (e.g. wampum belts, portraits, lathe turned ivory, weapons, costumes, Oriental footwear and carved alabaster panels) and rarities (e.g. a mermaid’s hand, a dragon’s egg, two feathers of a phoenix’s tail). The juxtaposition of such disparate objects encouraged comparisons, finding analogies and parallels and favored the cultural change from a world viewed as static to a dynamic view of endlessly transforming natural history and a historical perspective. We love Florie Dupont’s contemporary version ( photo by Baptiste Coulon )

The beauty is, each of us can start a Wunderkammer of our own. Unlike the accumulations of the past, Wunderkammers do not have to be dedicated rooms or even pieces of impressive furniture filled with wonders. A simple but fascinating collection in miniature or jewels can be assembled into a small partitioned box, a collection of ethereal gowns in a closet, or simply a collection of the most fashionable and astonishing Christmas gifts in a stocking! You can even catch your dreams and collections on Pinterest – we just did!

Because deep down, inside of all of us, we are each and one of us, a Wunderkammer of our own.

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