The DESTEFASHIONCOLLECTION 1 to 8 is an incremental project conceived by the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art to explore the boundary between art and fashion. Between 2007 and 2014, DESTE commissioned an artist to survey that season’s international fashion offerings and to present them in a capsule project, reflecting on the aesthetic as well as social-economics between art and fashion. In 2017, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum The BASS commissioned EC3 to re-imagine the exhibition which was initiated at the Benaki Museum in Athens in 2014.
Presenting the collection in its entirety for the first time in the United States, the exhibition at THE BASS offers an opportunity to re-curate the collection to explore and expose the similarities and distinctions between the fashion and artistic components in each capsule.
Using physical models, the team develops a design strategy to reconcile the 20-foot high space of the newly renovated gallery at The BASS with the collection’s intricate fashion objects. The sketch model on top uses plastic containers to represent a series of intermediate scale volumes to create a more intimate setting for viewing and display of the collection. The model on bottom further translates this idea as architectural enclosures.
Evolving the curatorial vision in parallel to the architectural approach, the model on the right presents the iconic dresses from the 8 capsules in a dramatic arrangement of mannequins; the model on the left juxtaposes the intricate fashion accessories on sculptural pedestals with graphics and videos on translucent partitions.
Working closely with The BASS curator Leilani Lynch and exhibition coordinator Jesus Petroccini, the design team arrives at an exhibition concept that aims to optimize the potential of The BASS’s spacious gallery, while also creating an engaging experience to the visitors.
The design team develops the various components of the exhibition with full scale mock-ups at EC3’s Venice Beach studio by using ready-made and reusable materials available from big-box home-improvement outlets such as Lowe’s.
In the final exhibition design, the collection’s 8 capsules are organized in and around a 12-foot high enclosure that creates a more intimate scale and backdrop for the presentation of the various fashion items. The enclosure and its columns are made with translucent corrugated panels to maintain a sense of openness. The various fashion objects are displayed on modular pedestals fabricated from high density foam blocks assembled in a variety configuration to achieve a sculptural yet casual look.
Bold colors sampled from the collection’s photographic content serves as the backdrop for the installation.
The exhibition plan is translated into a curatorial guide for The BASS to execute the installation.
The BASS begins assembly of the various elements of the exhibition in early April 2018 to meet challenging opening date of April 26, 2018.
The installation comes together efficiently and smoothly 3 days ahead of its scheduled opening.
The curatorial team from the BASS putting on the finish touches on dressing the mannequins.
On opening night, the exhibition receives enthusiastic reception from museum visitors.
The installation provides many photographic opportunities for curious art and fashion lovers …
Through the juxtaposition between the collection's capsules and the ready-made, reusable materials of the installation, the exhibition design at The BASS celebrates the ephemeral mature of high fashion and evokes a new visual sensitivity emerging from a post-Irma Miami.
The dialogue between the exhibition design and the collection’s components erases the boundary between art, architecture, and fashion.
The success of the exhibition design for the DESTEFASIONCOLLECTION 1 to 8 would not have been possible without the close collaboration between the curatorial team at The BASS and the design team at EC3 - Connor Covey, Keith Marks, Kyle Onaga and Jordan Squires.