Designers and forecasters aren’t the only ones setting trends. Many of Andrew Bolton’s exhibitions at the Anna Wintour Costume Institute have had a clear ripple effect on fashion. Sometimes this effect is physically reflected in the clothing. Perhaps more enduring is that exhibitions like “Manus ex Machina” or “Camp” introduce new filters through which we can better understand what’s on the runway or the craftsmanship that goes into making it. Now in his first year at the Met , the bright, Thom Browne-clad Bolton will receive the CFDA’s Founders Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert. It’s a fitting tribute. Lambert, known as the “Queen of Seventh Avenue”, not only founded the CFDA in 1962, but also supported the Costume Institute from the very beginning.
On the eve of the awards ceremony, Bolton took the time to discuss with Vogue the considerations for making a modern fashion show – including museums The highly anticipated upcoming show, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.”
People always say, “What does it take to make a blockbuster?” We never set out to do a blockbuster show, we started thinking A timely and relevant exhibition. I think the visitors make the blockbusters, not the curators. Timeliness is something we’ve been thinking about and trying to get people to think differently about the subject. So even if they have some preconceived ideas, to challenge those expectations and deepen people’s understanding of the subject, including the understanding of the clothes themselves.
narrative1962 I’ve always believed in narrative – visual narrative and conceptual narrative – so one of the things I also try to do is combine those parts in the exhibition. I think it’s important that people understand the concept immediately, just visually, because I don’t think if you lose the audience visually, they’re not going to engage more deeply with the subject.
We do feature exhibitions, but even with [those] I’m not inclined to chronological retrospectives; I’m more interested in writing an article about a particular designer. Part of that is time. We don’t have time to do a really in-depth time review, but more importantly I prefer to write a really focused article on designers. So, for McQueen, it was his engagement with the concept of the sublime and romanticism. Kawakubo is about how she works in this in-between space; with Karl Lagerfeld, it’s about the line of beauty and his ideas about his design process, and how he reconciles duality in his work.
I think it’s always important that the theme of an exhibition is visually coherent and easy to understand, and this usually extends to the scene, [which] solidifies the message. It extends the idea and concept of the show and deepens its understanding.
Planning1962I prefer Work a year or two ahead as it really allows you to respond to the zeitgeist. For example, the fact that we didn’t have any plans [at the time of Lee Alexander McQueen’s death], we were able to create an exhibition for [his work] because we didn’t plan three or four years in advance and we were able to get involved. With McQueen, working with his existing team is very important to me because he has a very close network of friends. And when a designer dies, there’s a lot of revisionism [ideas] at play, and if you’re able to do an exhibition and work with [their] team relatively early after the designer dies, you It is possible to unearth the authenticity and the rawness of their feelings and memories. Make the show more real, and make the designer’s work more real.
1962 My original plan for the Lagerfeld exhibition was to build the entire exhibition out of recycled paper, because Karl loves paper; paper is his favorite medium. I thought, ‘Oh my God, it would be great to do a fully sustainable exhibition: recycled paper, recycled mannequins. It didn’t end up going in that direction, but yeah, absolutely, we’re not only really aware of the materials we use, but how we recycle them and where they go afterward. We send a lot of exhibition furniture to an artist community in Brooklyn, we send some mannequins to other museums, and we tend to recycle a lot of our exhibition furniture. My ambition is really to do a completely sustainable exhibition from start to finish.