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The Museum at FIT

Exhibition:  50 Years of The Museum at FIT

I chose Thierry Mugler’s “Vampire” dress, black velvet, 1981, France. The curators included this garment in the exhibition because of its extreme emphasis on silhouette and simplicity. The design of the garment balances the curves of the body in the most flattering way possible. For me, I consider self confidence and body image in a number of my pieces of art. When designing, I consider what parts of the body people are insecure about and do my best to disguise or emphasize them in a fashionable garment. This dress stood out to me because I design in similar silhouettes. I focus on the biceps of the arms, the waist, the torso, the hips. The curators could have chosen to include it in the exhibition due to physical aesthetics, display and curation, concept and title.

The dress contributes a new light to our collective understanding of fashion history and fashion’s place in the museum setting. Not only is this garment a piece of art, but it is worn on a mannequin standing in front of a coffin. The entire exhibition is a work of art, carefully curated, and this look perfectly fits the theme.

My own designs, like his, are both sophisticated and urban. His mens collections reworked classical masculinity, with a modern style. I interpreted this piece in alignment with Mugler’s intended interpretation. From the visual variables in addition to my previous background knowledge, I instinctually saw the structured silhouette, prominent arms, shoulders, and hips. In the museum setting, every single decision is carefully curated to the tee, including the background of the museum, the placement of the mannequins, hair, accessories, and lighting. Museums and exhibitions are curated in consideration of consumption, regulation, distribution, production, and subject formation. In regards to consumption, exhibitions are curated to accommodate the people’s wants and needs. According to The New York Times, “there is no doubt that fashion has become the big winner and its exhibitions money spinners.”


Menkes, Suzy. 2011. “Is Fashion really Museum Art?” The New York Times, -07-04.

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