The barracks were named Villars, in homage to the Maréchal de Villars who came from Moulins. Construction began in 1770 based on the plans of the architect Jacques-Denis Antoine in the classical aesthetics of the 18th century, with a central building flanked by two low wings, with three staircases leading from the stables on the ground f l oor to the soldiers' quarters. The buildings, made of sandstone from the nearby Coulandon quarry, display technical prowess in the masonry and stonework as well as in the flat "sarrazine" vaulting.
Then, on the following three floors, reserves equipped with compactus shelving systems, vast sliding wardrobes including both hanging space and drawers, hence enabling the storage of some ten thousand costumes. These reserves are in compliance with the most stringent recommendations for the sanitary and physical security of works of art and benefit from totally independent air-conditioning.
The four teaching rooms have been highly active since the Centre opened, successively welcoming the young and old, from nursery classes to students from the Ecole du Louvre, from little dancers to skilled embroiderers… All levels of the French national education system are represented and workshops are organised during school holidays.
The fashion designer, Christian Lacroix, honorary president of the CNCS, completely remodeled the museum’s café-restaurant in 2011. In Baroque-style with sparkling colors, we can find a mixture of old prints, sparkling and arabesque colors combined on a carpet created by the designer exclusively for the museum.
Located on the ground floor of the building, the CNCS auditorium, with a surface area of around 140m², may welcome up to 90 people. Situated at the end of the exhibition circuit, this room enables visitors to continue their visit with a projection of films presenting the design of the costumes displayed. Programming is adapted to each exhibition in partnership with the National Audiovisual Institute.
In the Auvergne region, located in the centre of France, in the very heart of the Bourbonnais within the Allier department, nestles the charming town of Moulins, with its typical pink and black brickwork, appreciated by many a celebrity. Moulins boasts a wealth of beautiful churches, noble town houses, and a cathedral which is home to one of France’s greatest late 15th Century masterpieces, the Maître de Moulins triptych, together with the Duke of Montmorency’s sumptuous mausoleum, one of the
17th Century’s finest funerary monuments, portraying the great warrior swooning on his weeping widows knees.