The “New Look” of the 1950s. Tunics from the 1970s. The sequins and glitter of the 1980s. Dalida’s wardrobe, carefully preserved by her brother Orlando, serves as a unique glimpse into the extraordinary journey of this young lady from Italy, the future Miss Egypt who tried her luck in France and eventually became an international star.
“Rather than separate this collection of everyday and on-stage clothing – whose silhouettes feel like vividly coloured, scented shadows of Dalida herself – I wanted to donate the wardrobe to the Palais Galliera,” confides the brother and producer of the singer, who passed away in 1987 at the age of 54. A total of 209 items of clothing and accessories have therefore been added to the collections at Paris fashion museum, which is now exhibiting 26 of the most iconic outfits.
The exhibition opens with the glamour of a Hollywood-style red velvet strapless dress, designed by Jean Dessès (1958), which Dalida wore for her triumphant performance of ‘Bambino’ at the Bobino music hall in Paris. It was an outfit that she dusted off years later for the first show of her 1981 run at the Olympia.
The lines of the quiet and timid young lady (1956-1965) soon metamorphosize into the silhouettes of the star (1966-1978). The latter include “Ziberline”, the elegant long dress made from scratched ivory silk by Pierre Balmain (1973), trimmed with silver metallic thread and embroidered with pearls and diamantes.
Visitors are also introduced to Dalida’s cinema collection. This includes the famous black tunic worn by the Cairo laundress that she played in Youssef Chahine’s Le Sixième Jour (1986).
A free application, available in French and English, presents video footage featuring other clothes worn by Dalida in her music videos and at famous appearances on televised variety shows, all to the soundtrack of some of the singer’s biggest hits.