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Garde-Robes: A Study in Haute Couture Patronage


Garde-Robes: A Study in Haute Couture Patronage

Busque, Marie-Hélène (2015) Garde-Robes: A Study in Haute Couture Patronage. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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The exhibition Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection at the Metropolitan Museum’ s Costume Institute in New York in 2005 signalled a shift in curatorial practices with personal collections of haute couture being the subject of museological investigation. While it is tempting to dismiss these types of exhibitions as celebrating material excess, they are culturally, historically and socially significant. There have been numerous exhibitions on fashion designers, but hardly any on the women who wear their creations, because they are often considered quotidian and aspirational. However, they are both the collectors and caretakers of their garments and the custodians of the legacy of haute couture. Moreover, these exhibitions emphasize the social implications of dressing, such as distinction or conformity. This thesis discusses the patterns and networks specific to the acquisition of haute couture, the liminal nature of these garments and the different curatorial strategies used to display them in the museum space. Indeed, couture gowns shift between functional yet luxurious everyday objects and technically virtuosic works of art. The personal collections of haute couture (or garde-robes) that I examine in this
thesis are a source of creativity, material presence, cultural legacy for their owner and help them to construct and perform identities.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Busque, Marie-Hélène
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:August 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Potvin, John
ID Code:980393
Deposited On:26 Oct 2015 18:51
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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