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objets d'étude: the politics of the study collection in the fashion museum


The New School, Parsons Paris

5 – 12 May 2018, Le Coeur, Paris, France

"Objets d'Étude: The Politics of the Study Collection in the Fashion Museum" is an exhibition exploring the nature of the study collection and its capacity to enhance a discussion about the ideologies behind fashion in museums. Curated by the students of the MA Fashion Studies at The New School Parsons Paris in collaboration with ModeMuseum in Antwerp (MoMu), this exhibition investigates the multiple meanings of the Study Collection, the trajectories behind its formation, and its potential to unsettle current museums' practices. What is a study collection? What is the selection criteria behind its formation? How does it relate to the main museum collection? What type of alternative stories does it enable? And how can the study collection become a tool to rethink ideas of fashion today?

The exhibition begins to answer these questions, investigating issues of value creation in museums, discourses on authenticity and originality in fashion, museums' histories and policies, and interpretation of objects in museums. Using MoMu's study collection as a case study, students selected ten pieces that provoke significant interpretations. These were developed through a study of the history of fashion exhibitions, interviews with MoMu's staff and international fashion museums' experts, museums' documentation and theoretical works. The aim is to show the potential of the study collection and its capacity to disrupt current ideologies that govern practices of collecting, conserving, exhibiting fashion in museums.

Photos by Vinciane Lebrun/Voyez-Vous

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