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UAL Research Online

Corporate Cultural Policies and Museums: a Critical Evaluation of the Role of the Industry in the Evolution of Fashion Curation in Italy

Augello, Matteo (2019) Corporate Cultural Policies and Museums: a Critical Evaluation of the Role of the Industry in the Evolution of Fashion Curation in Italy. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Augello, Matteo

This thesis critically evaluates the role of the Italian fashion and textile industries in the evolution of fashion curation. Italy is rarely mentioned in publications on fashion curation in English, however through this research I demonstrate that a small number of exhibitions in Italy were influential in shaping curatorial approaches now employed internationally and that these approaches originated directly from the involvement of the industry.

This study presents a history of Italian fashion curation, previously not available, combining the limited accounts in Italian literature with evidence gathered from exhibition catalogues, specialist publications, and conference proceedings. Starting with the 1996 Biennale di Firenze, industry associations have organised exhibitions intended not as scholarly tools to present research but as visual reflections on the culture of fashion, viewed as an expression of contemporaneity, whose past is used as a key to understand the present. The approach has since been employed by corporate institutions like the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery in Florence. The account is instrumental in informing a nuanced understanding of corporate museums and enriches the debates on fashion curation by positioning Italy within existing international discourses.

This study also examines the status of corporate heritage in Italy and evaluates the impact of corporate cultural policies. Since the 2000s, the industry has invested major resources in the development of corporate museums, which are becoming a vital communication tool for companies and a core component of their cultural production. To date, corporate museums have only been studied from marketing, organisational and architectural perspectives. Through a definitional analysis of these institutions, I integrate existing literature with museum theory and collecting studies and illustrate the theoretical observations with the analysis of two corporate museums, the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence and the Museo del Tessuto in Prato. I propose a new definition of a corporate museum that provides a critical model that may be applied to non-Italian and non-fashion corporate museums.

This thesis makes an original contribution to the field of fashion curation by providing the first historical account of Italian fashion curation from the 1950s as well as access to and critical analysis of Italian literature. It also positions Italian curation in an international dimension, by engaging with English-language theory and drawing links with foreign practices and theories. Furthermore, it enriches the field of museum studies with a theoretical analysis of corporate museums, integrating the museological perspective to existing research in the field. Through this study I have demonstrated that an evaluation of corporate cultural policies and museums is critical to interpret fashion curation as a part of the fashion system in which both research and commercial aims can be achieved simultaneously, and that Italy is a particularly rich example given the role played by the industry in the evolution of fashion curation.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Access to the text of this thesis has been permanently restricted, by request of the author.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: February 2019
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2019 10:52
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2021 08:14
Item ID: 14792
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/14792

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