Fashion Bytes

Image via AP

Images from Rodarte’s capsule collection designed specifically for Pitti Uomo and Pitti W were released last week; the display – set up in an empty warehouse in Florence – looks far more like an art installation than a fashion exhibition.  Exhibiting Fashion did a wonderful review of the exposition, pointing out how similar this presentation was to their MOCA showcase, which ended on June 5. The Pitti exhibition was designed by Alexandre de Betak, a long-time collaborator with Rodarte who designs many of their runway shows.

On August 31, Rodarte’s photobook will be released, and the preview images available again look more like something that would be found in an art book than a fashion omnibus.  They have also begun donating specially designed pieces to various institutions, such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, or the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and collaborating on exhibitions. All of which suggests that the line between “art” and “high fashion” are becoming blurred.

The New York Times published a somewhat controversial article about the increased number of fashion exhibits which was discussed in a previous Fashion Byte.  NYT later published pieces discussing the new and innovative techniques used to photograph the McQueen: Savage Beauty catalogue, and an analysis of that exhibit that went on to state that corporate funding needed to be removed from such exhibits in order to truly discuss the pieces featured in them as works of art without any “bias”. Funding of fashion exhibits by the Houses being featured has already been discussed at length here at Worn Through, but it does seem to be a trend that Fashion Houses / designers such as Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy are taking a more active role in museums and the art world, and that as a result more fashion is being displayed and discussed.

I recently saw a quote on Twitter from Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA: “I consider one of the greatest responsibilities of curators to deal with the intersection of art and real life.”

Do you think the increased discussion – in praise or disparagement – of fashion exhibits is because they more accurately represent the intersection between art and life that Antonelli discusses in her quote, or is there another reason? Do you think that there has been an increase in respect for and acknowledgement of fashion as an art form worthy of museum attention by the “mainstream” media and artworld? If so, why now? Are more designers “crossing over” from a purely business perspective to a more museum-oriented one, or is it just a clever marketing ploy for them, and a way for the museums to make money?  Are there any exhibits or designers collaborating with arts institutions that you would like to share?

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