Florence Müller is the Denver Art Museum’s Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion, exhibitions curator and author. She also teaches at Institut Français de la Mode. She was previously the Director and Curator of Union Française des Arts du Costume at the Musée des Arts de la Mode, in the Louvre.
How does the current crisis impact the relationship to clothing and fashion?
We don’t need new clothes to stay at home, because we own already so much. Fashion has a reason to exist only to express yourself, to define your social identity and to communicate with others. When you wear a mask or appears on a Zoom meeting, your need of new clothes is limited. Still you have the desire of dressing up because it means that you are alive and moving forward. Fashion is the expression of the movement of life. We do not need to change clothes, we need to change the system of producing and distributing fashion, in creating an harmony between design, production, fabrication, distribution…There are many people and organization which are already working on this.
How does/can fashion play its individual expression and liberation role in our changing societies?
Fashion is already playing an important role in the new definition of gender and the expression of the diversity. Fashion is used as a manifest to assert the identity of new groups that were invisible before or rejected. The norms of beauty have changed dramatically and have created more new freedoms, through the expression of new identities.
Can you mention a piece of clothing, a collection, or an image that would embody fashion special role in 2020 for you?
The fashion show of Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga with its ecological catastrophic vision can be seen as a strong visual statement that will encourage people and the industry to act in a different manner. Many brands and NGO are now working on recycling, sustainability, fair trade, waste free… Fashion seems to have finally entered into the adult age!