So, in fashion, curation is the word du jour (I am fascinated that A magazine invited milliner Stephen Jones to curate rather than edit its latest edition). This says much about the continued relationship between fashion and art (more later), and now fashion has chosen to hook its caboose to something even more meaningful – the associated gravitas of the museum, a world deemed the very backbone of culture. Or perhaps it’s a bit of both – world class museum’s have notched up some of their biggest blockbuster shows with exhibitions dedicated to fashion names (McQueen at the Met in New York and Mr Jones at the V&A in London), while the concept of curation adds a nice touch of seriousness and depth to something that is regarded as inherently ephemeral.
So it’s not surprising that retailers should see the potential of such an association and use the exhibition format as a new promotional / marketing tool. The latest such liaison is So Dior at Harrods. The department store is currently hosting a Dior fest that includes window displays and specific promotions. Central to this is an exhibit that features film footage along with toiles, fragrance, bags and other artefacts used to tell the Dior story. There are also a selection of gowns including the navy and black petticoat dress designed by John Galliano for Princess Diana in 1996 (one of the first pieces conceived by Galliano in his role as artistic director), ‘Armide’, a crystal beaded gown from the A/W 1959/60 Haute Couture collection worn by Audrey Hepburn and another, ‘Soirée à Rio’ (H/C S/S 1961), worn by Elizabeth Taylor when she picked up her Best Actress award for Butterfield 8 at the Academy Awards. While it is by no means an academic study of the fashion house it is definitely worth a visit if only to see up close an original Dior suit dating from Spring/Summer 1947. Unquestionably architectural.
And while many museums practice a no-photography policy it is revealing that visitors are not only allowed to photograph the display they are actively encouraged to tweet or blog their images. Here are a few things that caught my eye…
Toile from Dior Autumn/Winter 2012 Haute Couture collection by Raf Simons
So Dior runs at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London until April 14th.