Illusion/Disillusion: The Paradoxical Gap of Fashion
Curators: Maria Ida De Ioanni, Ayaka Kitagawa, Rhea Saad, Treonna Turner
Illusion/Disillusion invites the audience to perceive the underlying characteristics of fashion as a mediator of illusion while demystifying them. The performance examines a cotton gown decorated with images of pineapples that was used in the French court around 1805, exploring the gap between the dress as an object of consumption and the circumstances of its production. The performance explores two components of the dress: cotton and images of pineapples, linking them to the illusions prevailing in the French court during that period. The two organic materials captured the curiosity of Western colonizers and fascinated those at court, fueling their imaginations through their rarity and “exoticism.” This performance juxtaposes the fashion for muslin in Europe and the associations of the cotton dress with the West Indies, a site of both production and consumption of cotton, pointing out the role played by the cotton trade in both slavery and the African diaspora. By demystifying the connotations of cotton and pineapple, the performance exposes the connections between this garment and a history of exploitation and slavery.This performance is part of Objects in Trouble, a collaboration between the Palais Galliera—Musée de la mode de la ville de Paris and the MA Fashion Studies program at The New School’s Parsons Paris. Objects in Trouble consists of four performances, each of which investigates an object in the Palais Galliera’s collection with a problematic history in relation to issues of race, colonialism, or elitism.
Concept: Laurent Cotta and Marco Pecorari, with the support of Miren Arzalluz
Exhibition Design: Justin Morin
Research Support: Antoine Bucher
Communication: Lisa Sarma and Margaux Brisson
Special Thanks to Morna Laing and Florence Leclerc Dickler