Here is the english version of the last post, article published by Duetto Fashion Magazine. Special thanks to Hellen Katherine, who did the translation.

The 2012 calendar is full of great fashion exhibitions not to miss, however, the most awaited are – once again – happening far from Brazil. By Raquel Gaudard

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) presents in New York, from May 10th to August 19th, “Schiaparelli and Prada – Impossible Conversations”. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, parted by time and linked by style connections, get an exhibition that shows how both explored different angles of similar issues in their collections.

Heading to the old world, specifically to Paris, the Les Arts Decoratifs is ready to open its doors and face a huge line of fashion lovers, coming from all parts of the world – that´s what the exhibition Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs is expecting – from March 9th to September 16th. In view of the extended time, the foresights point to a success as great as Alexander McQueen´s show, last year. Almost 700 thousand people passed by the event, a great amount, specially if we consider the contemporary art audience.

Fashion exhibitions are in fashion”, says Ingrid Mida, canadian artist and researcher of the intersection among fashion, art and history. “Fashion attracts young audiences into museums, and savvy curators are aware of the seductive power of staging exhibitions that will bring people into the museum”, she analyses.

Ingrid reminds us that it was Diana Vreeland who first presented, in a museum, the work of an alive fashion designer, in 1983, when she showed off an Yves Saint Laurent retrospective, at MET. “That exhibition generated a lot of controversy, but also set a precedent that others have since followed”. For Mida, fashion shows are more accessible to the mainstream perception than the traditional contemporary art installations, fact that explains – in her point of view – the big audience created by these events.

While abroad, fashion and arts have conversations in many dates spread all over 2012 calendar (check out our highlights for this year in the box, at the end of the report), in Brazil, this kind of production is still restricted to a more historical than artistic speech. The Costume and Textile Museum from the Feminine Institute, at Salvador city (BA), has the largest costume collection of the country, including, sometimes, special guides aimed at the dialogue between fashion and contemporary art – as proposed in the exhibition “Threads, threads, threads”, closed on March 22nd.

But this is an odd case and doesn’t describe the reality of our museums. According to Douglas Negrisolli, brazilian independent curator and art historian, the relation between fashion and visual arts in Brazil is still superficial. “The exclusiveness and the power of a small portion of the society are notorious in our country, and that comes about with much less strength in countries like United States, where the cultural production is extensively supported by both the government and private sector” – he considers.

Douglas also mentions how collections are limited to more regional representative costumes, such as cangaço (symbolical historical way of life from the Brazilian northeastern) and cerrado (typical brazilian vegetation), but, in the long run, “they are ineffective on the process of spreading brazilian costumes main feature, as well as its permanency in presentations”, he thinks.

About the art curator role due to this new work source, Ingrid Mida affirms that this professional acts as a gatekeeper in the museum field, once through this selection of which and how objects are supposed to be displayed, he can change the public comprehension. Schiaparelli and Prada”, for instance, is directed by no one less but the cineast Baz Luhrmann, who produced a video installation simulating an imaginary dialogue between the fashion designers.

Staging effects, such as the use of lighting and sound elements, invisible supports for garments, or animated mannequins, are display techniques for fashion objects that create the aura of an art installation. And, while audiences might read fashion as art because of those choices, it does not mean that what is shown in the context of a museum setting is necessarily art” – she completes.

In Douglas’ opinion, the art curator has the power of highlighting a production, but not raising it to another level. “Just as a physic reaction of an artist/stylist internal desire, in essence, is, on itself, an artwork”, he says. Concluding, he affirms that, in his opinion, “art is the expression of an intimate wish towards to something physical, visual, touchable” – so, clothing would also be, in a way or another, whether valued for installations around or not, included in these words.


Museé des Les Arts Decoratifs – Paris

From March 9th to September 16th2012



Metropolitan Museum of Arts (MET) – New York

From May 10th to August 19th 2012



Design Museum – London

From March 28th to July 1st 2012



Denver Art Museum – Denver

From March 25th to July 8th 2012



Victorya & Albert Museum – London

From May 19th to January 6th 2013



Palazzo Fortuny – Venice

From March 10th to June 26th 2012


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