SO META – LIFE IMITATES ART, THE REAL ACTION IS DOWNSTAIRS IN THE GIFT SHOP
I recently visited the V&A Museum’s exhibition Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s. Neon lights bounced across the skrims between the well-heeled mannequins as Bowie blared overhead. Fashionista undergrads undoubtedly from RCA or CSM tried furtively to snap pictures with their iPhone cameras only to get verbal warning from the security guards, and I couldn’t help but think, What if the V&A curators are trying to get at a deeper meaning than just ‘1980s fashion was influenced by the club scene’.
Hypothesis: V&A Museum’s secret message is that the gift shop is the most meta fashion art of all.
Haute couture: unique, artisan, high art
Fashion: wide distribution and reproduction, commodification, planned obsolescence, low art.
Fashion in a museum: vetted by the industry, exemplary of culture and society of the time, high art.
Souvenirs of fashion exhibition in museum: kitsch, disposable, imitations, low art.
Unspoken commentary that the gift shop is a HYPERFICE of fashion: high art, priceless.
HYPERFICE: (n) devices or expedients aimed to expose extravagant publicity or superficiality in a cultural establishment
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