Olivier Saillard is one of fashion’s premier historians and curators. He has curated some of the most exclusive fashion exhibitions at the Musée de la Mode in Paris and Marseille, the Musée Bordelle and the Victoria & Albert museum in London. Most noted for his critically acclaimed ‘Madame Grès’ exhibition in 2011, Saillard also curated the ‘Comme des Garçons: White Drama’ retrospective and the ‘Balenciaga Fashion Collector’ exhibition at Les Docks, Cite de la Mode et du Design in 2012 and staged the live performance art exhibition ‘The Impossible Wardrobe’, featuring relics worn by Marie Antoinette, Napoleon and Elsa Schiaperelli, in collaboration with Tilda Swinton at the Palais de Tokyo. Saillard was appointed as director of the Musée Galliera Paris in 2010. The historic museum that was closed for renovations from 2010, re-opened in September 2013 with an Azzedine Alaïa retrospective curated by Saillard. His career at the museum brought 28 fashion exhibitions, as well as a second round of refurbishments footed by Chanel to house the museum’s first permanent collections in 2019.
Saillard studied archaeology and contemporary art in Besançon, eastern France and Montpellier before being drafted for mandatory military service. Having spent his younger years browsing through museums in Paris, the young graduate requested to serve out his public service as a conscientious objector at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, where he secured an assistant position following his release from duty. Saillard spent five years as director of the Musée de la Mode in Marseille before returning to Paris in 2002. Serving as fashion curator at the Parisian Musée de la Mode prior to his current appointment, Saillard staged a number of exhibition featuring Yohji Yamamoto , Christian Lacroix and Sonia Rykiel from the museums vast archive.
114 Palais Galliera exhibitions later, Saillard confirmed floating rumors that his tenure at the museum would come to an end in January 2018. Instead, the curator took up a position as the artistic image and culture director of J.M Weston, a luxury men’s shoe brand. With no plans for expanding into international markets or appealing to younger audiences, the brand planned to stick to its vintage shoe silhouettes aimed at an older crowd, albeit seeking to rebrand itself with a greater focus on art in its design. Saillard staged his first couture show for the brand at the Grand Palais in May, and oversaw the opening of a new flagship store in Paris.
In 2018, Olivier Saillard ventured into the fashion world further, designing his first couture collection inspired by Madame Grès draping techniques on 34 basic jersey T-shirts in Autumn 2018. His next design feat followed in February 2019, as he released his second couture collection. Saillard was also named the artistic consultant of Pitti Immagine, an Italian fashion event platform, succeeding past exhibition collaborations. He was also appointed the curator of the Fondazione Pitti Discovery men’s fashion exhibition in 2019.