Opening in just a few weeks, Fashion Detective is a new approach to the interpretation and display of fashion and textiles at the NGV. A playful departure from the usual conventions of chronology, artistry or technique, Fashion Detective is, instead, a set of investigations that challenge us to reappraise what we see and what we know…
Taking a selection of anonymous nineteenth century garments and accessories as the starting point for a series of ‘cases’, the exhibition follows different paths of analysis: some rely on material evidence, others forensics, while several are intentionally speculative!
During the nineteenth century, clothing, along with other physical data, was pivotal to both crime solving and crime fiction. With this in mind, Fashion Detective invited four leading Australian crime fiction writers – Garry Disher, Kerry Greenwood, Sulari Gentill and Lili Wilkinson – to create new short stories based upon the objects on display. Using the NGV works as their ‘material evidence’, each writer created a parallel narrative to that which is known – exploring the mysteries of our collection in compelling new ways.
Bringing character and context to Fashion Detective, these short fictions will play in the exhibition space as a way of encouraging visitors to think about the social life of clothing and what might have been.
The game is afoot.
On 10 May, visitors have the opportunity to create their own fictions in response to the exhibition at the Drop-by-Fiction event 2-4pm, 3rd floor, NGV Australia.