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the pioneer of the crowd-puller fashion retrospective

Posted Jan 22 2013 8:01am
Here was vindication 
of applying a treatment to a fashion designer that formerly had been
reserved for a fine artist. Berenson also adds that "typically, it took half a
century for the great French dressmaker, Paul Poiret, to be recognized as
a pioneer in the development of Art Nouveau," thus neatly vindicating
the subject of the Met's Poiret show thirty-five years later.
If one takes the examples of Vreeland's 1973 Balenciaga exhibition
and the 2007 Poiret, it would seem that institutions have seamlessly
presented fashion retrospectives that justify to their audience the value
of concentrating on the wealth of creativity of a single designer and
the importance of that designer's historical contribution. But is has
not always been so, and as fashion exhibitions explore the field and
groundbreaking shows such as the V&A's 1994 Streetstyle and 2005
Spectres are conceived that clearly tick sociological, investigative, and
intellectual boxes, the retrospective has struggled to retain cultural
weight against the taint of criticism.
In Elizabeth Wilson's 2005 review of Judith Clark's Spectres for The
History Workshop Journal., Wilson compares the exhibition to the
Armani retrospective that traveled to London from the Guggenheim in
New York. Wilson dubs the Armani show "uninspiring." To her the
show is no different to a trip to Bond Street, while she is delighted
with Spectres., which heralds a "radical departure." Wilson also cites
Vreeland as the pioneer of the crowd-puller fashion retrospective and
she tackles the thorny subject of the art world refusing to take fashion
seriously. In 1973, Ruth Berenson had congratulated Diana Vreeland
on her approach to this issue. By 2005, Wilson blames the monographic
exhibition for perpetuating the problem, using the damning criticism of
the Armani show to pinpoint it as the most recent culprit. wuyan-0122. 
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