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.