Objets d’étude : The Politics of the Study Collection in the Fashion Museum

The MA program in Fashion Studies at The New School Parsons Paris has carried out a unique collaboration with MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp, culminating in this new exhibition. The exhibition opening will take place on Friday, May 4, and the exhibition will run through May 12.

Eleven pieces from designers including Dior and Yamamoto – as well as a deconstructed fake Burberry coat – will be exhibited in France for the first time, transported from Antwerp exclusively for this event.

The opening night will feature talks by experts and academics such as Miren Arzalluz (Galliera Museum) and Dieter Suls (MoMu), discussing topics covering the politics of collecting and exhibiting fashion in museums, and the use and role of the study collections for fashion designers and other practitioners.

A study collection is a collection of fashion objects that are imperfect – often irreparably damaged or stained – and are not integrated into main collections as they do not meet the selection criteria of perfection. In this context, Parsons Paris Fashion Studies students set out to investigate the practices surrounding study collections in fashion museums, including selection, conservation, circulation, use and access, and to explore the narratives, problems and alternative stories that can only be learned from a study collection. The exhibition will address issues of value, institutional use and propose alternative ways to discuss the poetics of imperfection.

Parsons Paris would like to extend special thanks to Jacoba de Jonge, Frieda Dauphin-Verhees, University of Antwerp – Department of Conservation-Restauration and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, IUAV Univerisity, Miren Arzalluz, Alexander Aubry, Caroline M Bellios, Amy de la Haye, Linda Loppa, Beatrice Quette, Gabriele Monti, Alexandra Palmer, Sarah Scaturro, Shannon Price, and Valerie Steele for helping make this collaboration and exhibition possible.

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