Monday, 16 August 2010

Quote of the Month

It was Colly Cibber who said that one might as well be out of the world as be out of fashion. But far more important than being stylish or passé is the question of our attitude towards fashion. Those who disregard it completely are the losers, for they miss the delightful multiplicity and charm of the fads that reflect our deepest psychological needs. He who ignores fashion ignores life itself.

Beaton, Cecil, 1989 [1954], The Glass of Fashion, London: Cassell. pp: 329

This month's quote is an extended version of one I used in a recent article on new developments in fashion curation, and comes from the pen of Cecil Beaton, in probably his best-known book The Glass of Fashion, originally published in 1954. In summary of why fashion has been, and continues to be, not just relevant but important as a subject of both intellectual investigation (and a fun one at that), Beaton addresses the notion of how dismissing fashion as irrelevant, also means detaching yourself from all worldly goings-on. In addressing why I pursue research within the context of fashion theory, it is reassuring to remember the relevance that fashion has in the world, not as a superficial entity, but as something integral to life, or rather living, itself. In making use of the last part of the sentence in relation to fashion curation, still in many ways an undeveloped and still growing endeavour, my aim was to emphasise the role of fashion as a serious and necessary curatorial pursuit, both within the context of the traditional museum or gallery space, or ''white box'', and in so-called ''alternative'' spaces and contexts. As engagement with fashion through the form of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, continues to intrigue and thrill people, so too have museums and galleries realised the importance of seeking to utilise their collections of such artefacts to attract an audience of (fee-paying) visitors. In 1971 Cecil Beaton curated Britain's first full-scale fashion exhibition at the V&A in London. Since then, fashion exhibitions, and dedicated galleries and museums, of fashion have grown steadily, not just in the UK, but internationally. It will be interesting to monitor these developments as they continue, particularly as so many ''non-fashion'' museums and galleries are also taking to showcase fashion in new and unusual contexts. I explore more of this in my article, which is to be published shortly. Watch this space...

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