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“Intimate Architecture: Contemporary Clothing Design”

Hayden Gallery, M.I.T.

Fashion exhibitions in an art context are often little more than bad jokes which serve neither community. For the most part they are amateurish displays of glamorous haute bourgeois garments pinned on borrowed mannequins with bad wigs (or, frequently, no wigs). Institutions that wouldn’t allow a ginger jar to be mounted on a badly proportioned base think nothing of forcing an 18th century gown onto the armature of a 20th century mannequin. Equally inappropriate are the postures that the mannequins are assembled to hold; poses unthinkable for a person of a certain time are routinely incorporated into displays where fiction has a significant edge on fact.

In America, Diana Vreeland’s exhibitions at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have set an eccentric standard for the beast. The Vreeland shows are enormously and deservedly influential in the worlds of fashion and art. They provide,

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