by Barb on December 23, 2011
When I went to see the “Sporting Life” exhibition at the Museum at FIT over a month ago, I couldn’t but kill two birds with one stone and head towards the lower level afterwards to take a walk through the Daphne Guinness exhibition.
The lower level doesn’t lead directly into the exhibit. Outside of the viewing room is an empty display with a view of sorts – particular mementos and pieces. As I reflect now, it could very well have been the “accessories” portion of the exhibit, though it wasn’t well labeled. The confusion as to where the rest of the exhibit is is quickly diffused as I watch others bumble around, looking for the doors that will permit them into the world of Daphne Guinness.
Granted, the exhibition space isn’t that large; however, in such a limited space, it is rather incredible how Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, along with Guinness herself delivered the volume of content that was made available, while being sure not to overwhelm the viewer. The clothes are beautifully modeled on mannequins that pose atop raised platforms. A walkway is left empty in the middle so as to permit traversing between the seven themes that emerge from the side of the room.
Like the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met, the separation in themes – armor, chic, dandyism, evening chic, exoticism, sparkle, and accessories – leads to a different world with each small step. Each theme begins with a quote from Guinness on what interests her about this particular theme, and each collection seems to have at least one particular (sometimes custom made) masterpiece that draws the viewer in; of course, that is subjective, much like the punctum of any photograph (as French theorist Roland Barthes would say). And projected on the walls of both ends are short films of Guinness’, which add to the allure and mystique of the fashionable icon.
I went in with little expectation, but was thoroughly impressed, though the exhibition certainly had notes that were similar to the McQueen exhibit. That said, it wasn’t necessarily a direct port, but rather its own with some similarities.
For those still interested, the exhibition is free and runs until January 7th, 2012.