For those who are in Paris until the 2nd of November, I absolutely recommend to visit INSPIRATIONS, the retrospective of the Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Believe it or not, this exhibition was like an epiphany for me, confirming that I have to emigrate as soon as possible if I really want to build my future in the fashion curation field.
For the snobbish fashion-pseudo-experts, perhaps this ehibition is not more than another mono-theme blockbuster-show. Actually, it is definitely more of a self-celebration of a genius. It’s like a sort of catharsis process which room after room analyzes symbols, meanings and suggestions of all the collections of the fashion designer.
The symbolic title INSPIRATIONS may suggest a revival of the inspirations that have marked (and still mark) Van Noten’s carreer, but how explains the designer himself in a note at the entrance, many of these suggestions are the result of a study a posteriori, based on analogies with works of art, film and costumes of other cultures. A whirlwind of emotions that leaves even the non-expert-in-the-field visitors breathless by immersing them into a web of iconographic and iconologic interconnections.
In front of an high quality exhibition such as this, we are faced with a question about the fashion curation issue: Why do not we have this kind of exhibitions in Italy?
The only Italian fashion curator able to stand out in the international scene is Maria Luisa Frisa. I still remember some exhibitions she curated for Pitti Immagine when I began to move my first steps in fashion as a mere amateur (dating back almost 10 years ago), and unlike the ones organized by textiles and costume historians, her work is food for thought, causing fun or surprise, regardless of the value of the clothes on display.
Going beyond the weird Italian fashion curation issue and dwelling instead on the combination of exhibition sets and contents, it is very sad to note that everything is always due to the money, or rather the lack thereof.
From unofficial-but-influencial sources, I know that the curators of the fashion exhibitions at the Museum of Decorative Arts of Paris are actually two persons, plus the team of the annual guest designer, and that the stellar displays they made depends on the income of the sponsors.
If a private entrepreneur wants to invest into a public museum to fund exhibitions or restorations, in Italy we are used to cry to the scandal because the whole State is perceived as submitted to the money of a unique rich person. It’s so funny that In Italy during the opening ceremonies of exhibitions or museums all the authoritative and representative personalities do not want to be photographed or interviewed in front of posters listing the names and logos of the sponsors just to prevent protests and scandals.
For this reason it seems that our country is destinated to show the most important treasures of the world in inaccessible rooms closed for lack of staff, in dilapidated places with antiquated equipment without explanatory plates.
We know very well which is the solution to these problems, but complain is much easier than to act.
Alessandro Masetti – The Fashion Commentator