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Carton d’invitation : A Fashion Documentary

With Nan Devitt Tremblay, film director and Alex Aubry, Director of SAIC’s Fashion Resource Center

  • Tuesday, November 7 • 6:30 p.m.

  • In English • Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • Free for members and students* • $15 Non-members

  • *Register with .edu email address or present Student ID

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Chicago Premiere! Carton d’Invitation (French for fashion show invitation), is both a personal story and a chronicle of fashion’s evolution over the course of two decades.

In 1986, Nan Devitt Tremblay was a Canadian expat living in Paris when she joined Fashion Television. Before the advent of social media, the Canadian series was the first to offer viewers across the globe a window into the fashion world. From 1985-2012, the show documented fashion’s shift from an industry accessed by a privileged few to a form of mass entertainment; offering a front row seat to runway shows, the backstage, exclusive parties and designer studios. While viewers became acquainted with the show’s presenter Jeanne Beker, Devitt Tremblay served as its “invisible” Paris reporter interviewing noted fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier, in addition to editors, models, celebrities and fashion insiders. Combining salvaged footage from the TV show with interviews, Devitt Tremblay’s archival documentary explores her tenure at Fashion TV (1986-1998), whose legacy and influence is still felt today. 

About Nan Devitt Tremblay

Nan Devitt Tremblay was a television reporter for the CBC in Canada before moving to Paris to work for Fashion Television. Subsequently, she worked for many years as the facilitator of a high school Advanced Placement/Gifted program in Toronto. Her film Carton d’invitation was made while working towards a Master’s of Fine Art at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her archival film has been screened in Toronto and Berlin and will go to Paris and the UK in the winter. It celebrates the richness of fashion’s “Golden Age” and also includes idiosyncratic vignettes of her children’s Parisian childhoods, underscoring her adjacent realities. Devitt Tremblay’s practice-led research includes a growing interactive media library of podcasts, reels and archival photographs which can be accessed by visiting @cartondinvitation on Instagram or TikTok. Her podcast series also called Carton d’invitation addresses issues of embodiment, adornment and sartorial disruption; it is available on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts.   

About Alex Aubry

Alex Aubry is the Director of the Fashion Resource Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His research, publishing and curatorial work focuses on alternative histories of French haute couture, which center voices and individuals from the Global South. In addition to co-curating the Alliance’s first Chic and You Series, he has collaborated on programing exploring the Francophone world’s contributions to French culture. For 12 years, Alex served as the International Features Editor for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia; covering the arts, culture and design in the region and its Diaspora. In addition to teaching Museum Studies and Modern/Contemporary Art of the Middle East, he has contributed to books on museum development and collecting in the Arabian Gulf region, as well as the catalogue for the 2018 exhibition, Contemporary Muslim Fashion, at San Francisco’s De Young Museum.

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