May 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The Fashion Institute awakens the sleeping beauty in the chemistry laboratory

The Fashion Institute awakens the sleeping beauty in the chemistry laboratory

Friedman Well, as we know, the Costume Institute is the only department of the museum that has to pay for its own operating budget – and displays. So you have to follow the money. And certainly, part of the role of fashion in this museum, especially since curator Andrew Bolton took over and started creating these wonderful conceptual displays, has been to serve as a more accessible entry point into the greater institution, to get people through the doors. I remember Harold Koda, the museum’s former curator, telling me that the museum once measured the decibel levels of various exhibits, and those levels were the highest ever for Costume Institute displays, because everyone felt confident to have an opinion about the clothes. I think this show will be a talker, because many of the outfits on display are so adorable, and because of the Bat-the-Bunny-like aspects. what you say?

Farago I have real reservations about interactivity and immersion, which undermines this show’s efforts to look at clothing through both scientific and poetic lenses. This bifocal technology is an interesting approach, and Sleeping Beautys might have been twice as good for half the budget.

But we should talk about the substance of this presentation before we get into the style – as much as the two can be separated from each other….

Friedman The explanation has to do with the deterioration or demise of clothing in the museum collection (clothes with “inherent vice,” my new favorite term), which got Bolton thinking about plants, animals, etc., etc., which got Bolton thinking about Plants, animals, etc. It led to the themes he used to put together the exhibition. This is a bit of a messy logic, but it can basically be boiled down to: Fashion has been influenced by nature ever since it became fashionable!

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It’s pretty obvious, but it’s also fun to look at. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time gazing at Dior’s masterpiece of a scalloped, frothy beaded gown, or a 1937 Paquin poppy dress in plissé chiffon with the delicacy of flower petals, or a Loewe coat from a recent fashion show, sprouting real grass? (The latter should be replaced with a fresh copy every week or so, because the grass cannot survive for long without irrigation.) The sheer visual appeal of these garments makes a compelling case that some designs, at least, have the timeless appeal of great art.