Curating the toile: a study of fashion curatorial practice in the fine art museum

Di Trocchio, P 2011, Curating the toile: a study of fashion curatorial practice in the fine art museum, Masters by Research, Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Curating the toile: a study of fashion curatorial practice in the fine art museum
Author(s) Di Trocchio, P
Year 2011
Abstract This research reflects upon curatorial practice in the fine art museum through the fashion exhibition Remaking Fashion. By curating the toile, a garment prototype, this research considers curatorial practice, which includes the selection and arrangement of objects to create meaning in exhibition. The exhibition Remaking Fashion provided the mode to convey research, meanings and interpretations of the toile.

The toile is usually a remnant from the fashion design process. It is typically made of calico and used to test or develop design, fit or garment proportions and enables the designer to make judgments about design. More recently, its distinctive characteristics, such as its calico fabric, loosely basted threads or unfinished edges have been translated into features of contemporary fashion which reference the process of making in fashion design.

My intention was to convey various narratives around the toile. These narratives were informed by the exhibition checklist which included works selected to reflect the toile’s role in design process. The narratives were also informed by my role as curator at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).1  Through a series of narratives reflective of the exhibition, this research traces ten interpretations of the toile in regards to design process, fashion curatorship and the museum environment which have been presented through groupings with other NGV collection items and select loans.

Remaking Fashion was fore grounded by new curatorial practices. These include Judith Clark’s recent curatorial projects which break with traditional practices of experiencing fashion in an exhibition by using text, image and objects in considered juxtapositions. In order to curate the toile, my research questioned the fashion items displayed in fine art museums to address the gap of representation of design process. Through reflection upon the Remaking Fashion exhibition, I considered the role of the curator as narrator and addressed the potential of the fashion exhibition to convey knowledge and experience.


1 I was appointed Assistant Curator, International Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in 2003. In this role I have curated and co-curated numerous fashion and textiles exhibitions.

Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) curating
design process
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Created: Thu, 13 Sep 2012, 15:47:51 EST by Maria Lombardo
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