Better the devil

What could be more designed than Kylie? Once upon a time we believed in innate talent. But now we realise it takes many teams of people with different talents, not least PR and marketing, to achieve lasting, global success. The shock that a blank canvas – such as the Australian soap opera star Kylie Minogue once was – could achieve such celebrity has long since abated. Instead, we now appreciate the artistry with which such careers are sustained. Like Madonna, Kylie functions as a conceptual mannequin, with even less pretension to authorship. Kylie – The Exhibition, nicely designed by Arnaud Dechelle of Event Communications, showcases particularly the dress designs that helped construct global stardom, as well as providing some fetishistic tidbits, such as a reconstructed dressing room, for the hordes of fans that will no doubt descend on the Victoria & Albert Museum. The show might have sent a shiver up the spine of some of its curators, but the V&A is most certainly secretly hoping it should be so lucky as to spark a controversy around Kylie – The Exhibition; assembled TV cameras bode well on that front. After all, any media brouhaha only helps to drive footfall – we all know what happened when the Design Museum put on a show about flower-arranging. Under the new stewardship of Dejan Sudjic, it’s now following a different tack, while the V&A seems happy to assume the populist mantle.

Kylie – The Exhibition runs from 8 February to 10 June at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7

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