Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Art History


Bridget J. Elliott


This thesis discusses methods of display taken up by fashion designers Bless, Boudicca and Sandra Backlund, as seen in the museum exhibit of their work, Fashioning the Object, held at the Art Institute of Chicago from April 14 to September 16, 2012. It focuses on how these methods differ from those traditionally used in the fashion world to show that fashion designers are looking towards the art world for new ways to present their work. The first chapter examines how the frame of the museum itself functioned in this exhibition. The second chapter studies Bless’s use of performance art events and Boudicca’s use of fashion films as a replacement for the traditional catwalk show. The last chapter considers the still life photographic techniques used particularly by Ola Bergengren for Backlund that depict her garments as art objects. Overall, the thesis shows how contemporary designers are reconfiguring the traditional display methods of the fashion world in order to shift attention from commercial purposes to the artistic intent of fashion objects, and to create a more engaged viewership.