Monday, June 25, 2012

Raquel Gaudard Interviews Me about Fashion as Art in the Museum

Not long ago, Brazillian journalist and editor Racquel Gaudard contacted me for an article she was writing for the publication Duetto. Her article was published last month and can be viewed here. Even if you don't understand Portugese, this publication is filled with beautiful imagery. Racquel also kindly provided me with a translation of the article into English for my blog.

When fashion in the museum became a synonym of art
By Raquel Gaudard

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

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 of 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 living fashion designer, in 1983, when she showed off an Yves Saint Laurent retrospective, at the 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.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What I'm Reading ....

Summer is my time to read. I love to lay in the backyard on a chaise and catch up on my reading.... Hot off the press from Berg are two new titles that dovetail my research: Fashion and Art as well as Victorian Fashion Accessories.

In Fashion and Art, editors Adam Geczy and Vicki Karaminas have compiled a selection of essays by leading scholars including Valerie Steele, Hazel Clark, Joanne Eicher and Diana Crane on the intersection of fashion and art. To date, papers on the topic were difficult to find and this book provides a comprehensive overview of the state of the discourse thereon. My initial review of this book indicates that Valerie Steele's essay on Fashion and Art in this book mirrors her comments in Milan as well as my interview with her for Fashion Projects. I am looking forward to digging deeper into these essays, especially since this is a topic that I am passionate about.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Report from Milan Fashion Tales 2012

Dolci is the word I would use to describe my trip to Milan Fashion Tales 2012. It was three days of intense focus on fashion theory and I took it all in like a sponge. Funnily enough, many people said to me "You look familiar" and when I'd admit that I was the author of "Fashion is my Muse!", they would often laugh and said they had visited before. It seems that my slog (scholarly weblog) is a fashion academic's guilty pleasure.....
The Duomo in Milan, Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
The conference was kicked off by fashion scholar Valerie Steele who gave a talk entitled "Is Fashion Art?". She had given a similar paper last summer but revised this talk to incorporate the quote from Muccia Prada used in the Costume Institute's exhibit on Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prada said: “Dress designing is creative, but it is not an art…. But to be honest, whether fashion is art or whether even art is art doesn’t really interest me. Maybe nothing is art. Who cares!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fashion Tales 2012 Milan

This afternoon I will present my paper The Metaphysics of Fashion Blogging in Milan at the Fashion Tales 2012 conference. Of course, I wanted to wear something out of the ordinary and I asked a talented friend - Anna Zygowski - to create a dress for me. She first created a digitally printed silk fabric from photos of distressed lace and then copied a style of sheath dress that I often wear. The fabric presented its own challenges for Anna, but I think the result is fabulous. Even if my paper doesn't get rave reviews, no doubt the dress will!

The abstract of my paper is:

The emergence of the fashion blog is an aspect of culture that has gone largely unexamined. Although fashion blogs seem to be a relatively recent phenomenon, the drive to document aspects of one’s life goes back many centuries. Journals, diaries, sketchbooks and albums are evidence of the urge to memorialize and share ideas, events, activities, and accomplishments. For example, Barbara Johnson, a well-to-do Englishwoman from a clerical family, made detailed notes about her wardrobe for the period 1760-1823. Her album, which is now in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum, includes a detailed description of each garment, fabric swatches, information about cost and trimmings as well as clipped pocketbook engravings with the styles of the day. Drawing on historic precedents and the author’s experience as a blogger, blogs are reconsidered in the context of theorist Michel Foucault’s theories on the aesthetics of existence as creative portals for identity construction. In equating bloggers to Walter Benjamin and Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur, this social media tool is also recast as a forum in which the ephemeral and transitory processes of fashion can be captured. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is on the Fashion Calendar in June 2012

June seems relatively quiet compared to this past month! Some of the ongoing shows and events that I would recommend include:

Cristobal Balenciaga: Collectionneur de modes (Gallery Installation Shot by Ingrid Mida 2012)
Cristobal Balenciaga: Collectionneur de modes at the Musee Galliera in Paris
Balenciaga collected garments, accessories, and books from the 18th and 19th century as part of his personal archive. The juxtaposition of these items alongside the contemporary designs created by the Spanish designer show the links between the inspiration provided by history and the end result. This exhibition was so innovative in presentation that I think it is worth a closer look. The curators were creative in their display of items that could only be shown flat due to conservation issues, as well as innovative use of relatively inexpensive design modules. 

Prada and Schiaparelli: Impossible Conversations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
The imaginary conversation of two women designers -- Muicca Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli -- from different decades celebrates the power of ugly chic as well as the connection between fashion and art. Read my review on Fashion Projects here:

Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection (Gallery Installation Shot by Ingrid Mida 2012)
Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto
The delicate jewel-like creations of Roger Vivier remind me of candy. Exquisitely crafted with beadwork and other embellishments, Vivier shoes are truly wearable works of art.

Fashion Tales 2012 in Milan (June 7-9)
If you happen to be in Milan next week, please join me at the Fashion Tales conference at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. I will be speaking on the Metaphysics of Fashion Blogging on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 2:30-4 pm.

Constructions of Femininity Q&A at loop Gallery (June 17, 2012 at 3 pm)
On the last day of my show at loop, there will be a question and answer period moderated by Peter Legris. I know it is Father's Day, but since most guys will be out golfing, why not get a dose of art?

Notice of copyright: 
All text and images on this blog are the copyright of Ingrid Mida, unless otherwise noted. The copying of posts, images and/or text without proper attribution is violation of copyright and legal action will be pursued.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photos from the Opening of Constructions of Femininity by Ingrid Mida at loop Gallery

Installation Shot, Constructions of Femininity by Ingrid Mida
Photo by Patricia Njovu 
Ingrid Mida at Opening Reception Loop Gallery, May 26, 2012
Photo by Patricia Njovu