What is the significance, both nationally and internationally, of the Temporary Fashion Museum? Now that the project is drawing to a close, it is time to take stock and divulge our findings. Various views, from experts from academia, the museological world and the fashion industry, were voiced on 5 May during a public discussion.
Marco Pecorari, fashion theoretician: 'More than a fashion exhibition the Temporary Fashion Museum first of all embodies a proposal of what a fashion museum is, or more radically, what a fashion museum could potentially be like.’ Subsequently, themes crop up such as the museum as a place for criticism, the ephemeral quality of fashion and the position of the visitor/consumer. Read the essay by Marco Pecorari.
The evening started with a lecture by fashion historian Alistair O’Neill containing references to shows by his hand, such as Valentino: Master of Couture (2012) and Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! (2013). It was continued with a panel discussion, moderated by Marco Pecorari, with Alistair O’Neill, Kaat Debo, director of Antwerp’s fashion museum MoMu, Corinna Gardner, curator at Victoria and Albert Museum and Guus Beumer, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut and curator of the Temporary Fashion Museum.
This Thursday Night was part of the Temporary Fashion Museum project.
Fashion historian Alistair O’Neill is Reader in Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins. He is the author of London - After a Fashion (2007) and writes widely on contemporary fashion. Recent curatorial projects include co-curating SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution (2009), Valentino: Master of Couture (2012). He is the curator of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! (2013), for which he also edited the accompanying publication (Rizzoli, 2013). In 2005 O'Neill established the Masters course in Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, and edited a special issue of Fashion Theory in 2008 on the same subject.
Marco Pecorari is Program Director of the MA in Fashion Studies at The New School Parsons Paris where he teaches and conducts research on Fashion History & Theory. He holds a PhD in Fashion Studies obtained at Stockholm University and he has recently published a chapter entitled Liveness: Performance as a Fashion Curatorial Act in the book Fashion Responses (2016) and Contemporary Fashion History in Museums in the book Fashion and Museum: Theory and Practice (Bloomsbury 2014).
Kaat Debo is the director of MoMu, Antwerp’s Fashion Museum. After studying literature and philosophy at the Universities of Antwerp and Berlin, from 2001 up to 2008 she was responsible for the museum’s exhibition policy and curated several of its shows. In 2007 and 2008 she was editor in chief of A MAGAZINE. She regularly lectures and writes on contemporary fashion. Currently on show at the MoMu is the exhibition Game Changers – Reinventing the 20th century silhouette that looks at the groundbreaking work of fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Corinna Gardner is curator of contemporary product design at the Victoria and Albert Museum. On joining the newly established Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital team in January 2013, Corinna has worked with colleagues to introduce Rapid Response Collecting as a new strand to the museum’s collecting activities. Prior to joining the V&A Corinna worked at Barbican Art Gallery on exhibitions including OMA Progress, Bauhaus: Art as Life and Cory Arcangel’s Beat the Champ.
Guus Beumer, who studied social sciences, has been director of Het Nieuwe Instituut since January 2013. He is artistic director of the Temporary Fashion Museum. In the 1980s Beumer was a journalist for publications including Avenue, Marie-Claire and HP/De Tijd and in the 1990s was art director of the fashion labels orson + bodil and SO. From 2005 he was director of Marres, House for Contemporary Culture and Bureau Europa/NAiM, both in Maastricht.