Essay: Il Vestito Antineutrale Manifesto

Judith Clark Imagines a Fashion Exhibition

by Judith Clark .

Dress in museums has traditionally been about extreme specialness or extreme ordinariness – fashion becomes instantly conventional. The new quickly becomes nostalgia.

1. The Futurist Manifesto – Il Vestito Antineutrale (The Manifesto of Antineutral Dress) was written by Giacomo Balla in September 1914, when Italy was no longer neutral.

2. There are moments in which revision becomes necessary, such as in 1999 on the verge of the millennium.

3. The manifesto wanted to abolish the elegant, the everyday and the tasteful in favour of the aggressive, transient and volatile. Manifestos can never be neutral.

4. Exhibitions need to resist the allure of neutrality.

5. Manifestos are like blueprints. Fashion is always a potential manifesto.

6. Dress in museums has traditionally been about extreme specialness or extreme ordinariness – fashion becomes instantly conventional. The new quickly becomes nostalgia.

7. If the attributes of fashion and Futurism have a lot in common, do they need to share props?

8. How do you exhibit the hauntings of fashion: sexuality, childhood, the clothes of the parents, the clothes of the times, the clothes of the past?

9. Exhibitions remember the movement associated with dress or building the exhibition.

10. The moment fashion is exhibited it is fixed.