Beyond the physical and the digital: the ‘power of display’ in fashion exhibitions

Flavia Loscialpo

    Research output: Published contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    The discipline of curating fashion has experienced a cultural turn in the last decades. What were controversial approaches are now recognised as pioneering and significant in having encouraged debates and opened the discipline through rethinking existing paradigms. This contribution analyses the challenges and criticisms surrounding fashion displays, with the aim to address the centrality of performativity in relation to key fashion exhibitions. The paper explores ‘the power of display’ (Staniszewski, 1998; 2000) through mediums and spaces, whether physical, digital or both. Within museum studies, the focus on the visitors’ experience and on the narrative has been identified as a key feature of a ‘new museology’ (Vergo, 1989; Hein, 2000; Henning, 2006), which ultimately leads us to question the purposes of museum and gallery displays. With references to museum studies, fashion curation, philosophy, and drawing from conversations with fashion curators, the paper examines the exhibition’s potential to provide a context for visual and material experiences, as well as for a new understanding and articulation of knowledge. The contribution embraces Foucault’s reflection on heterotopia (1967; 1970), arguing that the content of the museum as a space of difference is the interpretation itself. Considering exhibition design as a medium in its own right (Celant, 1996) the paper highlights performativity as a fundamental feature of the exhibits, of the installation and, more broadly, of the museum space.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventExhibiting Dress: Engaging with the Past and the Present - Athens, Greece
    Duration: 28 May 2016 → …


    ConferenceExhibiting Dress
    Period28/05/16 → …


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