Join our Mailing List

Follow us on:

Present Imperfect: Disorderly Apparel Reconfigured

Present1 Imperfect2

1. Disorderly apparel reconfigured

2. A playful project that tests the principal elements of exhibiting fashion: object, body, text, installation. A conversation between exhibition-maker Jeffrey Horsley and curator Amy de la Haye inspired by apparel which is damaged, worn-out or perished.

Object: fragile apparel framed by modular structures

Body: proposals that allude to the human form

Text: playing with format to express actual and associative narratives

Installation: configured as gallery and studio space to share working processes

Disorderly apparel describes garments that are badly damaged, utterly worn-out or made from textiles that have perished over time. The items exhibited in Present Imperfect are prized for these very qualities. However, similar apparel can be overlooked or suppressed, left to lie dormant or languish in museum stores.

Selected apparel includes a pair of Victorian kid leather gloves that are burned, forever contorted in corporeal gesture. A cotton ballet singlet, borrowed from the Rambert Archive, was once animate but now lies limp, imprinted by repeated exertion. Shattered linings are properties common to a contemporary Stone Island jacket and an afternoon gown crafted over a century ago by leading London couture house Redfern. Most recent is a template leather jacket by Alexander McQueen. It features photocopied and glued pattern motifs and red felt-tipped annotation redolent of cut-and-paste zines.

These seemingly awkward garments are framed by modular structures that safeguard and actively communicate. Each structure proposes a strategy that alludes to the human form in its absence: a glove placed at the location of a hand; an impression of a dancer’s figure milled from a 3D body-scan; representation of a pattern-maker’s measures suggests process and proportion.

Text is a routine method for interpretation and engagement. Present Imperfect playfully subverts the conventions of text panel and label. Narratives – actual and associative – such as time, transience and trauma are suggested as possible themes for finding meaning.

In order to share working processes and reveal multiple alternative narratives, the installation is configured as gallery and studio space. An intention is to highlight that within the evolution of any exhibition numerous choices and ideas are explored, rejected and chosen.

Present Imperfect explores museal conventions: experimentation and innovation are core objectives of the University of the Arts research Centre for Fashion Curation.

Commissioned by Ligaya Salazar, Fashion Space Gallery and presented in collaboration with Centre for Fashion Curation.