Tuesday, February 19, 2008

blog.mode:addressing fashion

It was a Bank Holiday here in Manhattan (President's Day. No? Me neither.) yesterday, so I nipped up to the UES to visit The Metropolitan Museum's blog.mode:addressing fashion exhibition at The Costume Insitute.

It was not what I expected. It's certainly not an exhibit that has anything whatsoever to do with fashion blogging, rather a chronological display of some iconic pieces from the archives.

The darkened galleries have some truly exquisite pieces on display, from two 18thC panniered silk dresses to a Madame Gres goddess dress, through Galliano's deconstructed dress for Dior and a Theyskens frilled confection for Nina Ricci. Beautifully curated, the notes included direct quotes from some of the designers.

There is no open access standing collection at The Costume Institute as there is at London's V&A museum, so this is a rare chance to see a very small sample of what is held by The Met. This in itself would have sufficed as a reason to open up the galleries to the public but, in an attempt to appear all post-modern, they have centred the show around the idea of visitor comment, installing a bank of computers so that visitors can engage in a debate upon the merits of individual items in the show, with a new image posted daily. The blog is here.

Surely museums should be doing this anyway, regardless of the exhibit? Using this as the focal point of the show seems like a pretty spurious reason for getting out some glorious, but unconnected pieces from the archives.

I was also unamused to discover that no merchandising had been produced in conjunction with the show, which does rather prove my point.

There are currently over 80 million blogs in existence, and quite a few discuss fashion. You'd have thought that someone might have gone, hmm, I bet plenty of those fashion bloggers would like a poster of the show's publicity shot?

But no.

An American museum missing out on a revenue opportunity? That's news in itself.