Four years ago in a post entitled "A Brief Glossary of the Most Abused Terms, Expressions and Concepts in Fashion" (divided in Part I and Part II), we mentioned the word and the verb "Curator/To Curate". In that post we stated: "Definitely the most abused term in the creative arts world. A curator used to be a highly educated person who took care of cataloguing a collection or who put together an exhibition. Now everybody can be a curator and everybody can curate everything, from an exhibition to a window shop, from a film festival to a magazine, a photo shoot or an advertising campaign. One of the most popular fun T-shirts seen at assorted art events all over the world just spells 'CURATOR' and I'm sure that, if Ikea did toilet signs with the words "Curated by..." and some space left to add the name you want, they would sell millions. A very obnoxious example of how this word has been abused: the press releases to some fashion shows include the section "Music curated by" and quite often the musical selection ends up being a pile of vile tracks (Burberry shows anybody?)."
As the years passed the terms "curator/curated by" kept on being overused: Burberry's press releases for example continued highlighting how the music for a show was "curated" by Burberry's current president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. In 2015, the brand also started a channel within Apple Music's "Curators" section.
Burberry's obsession with these words reached a new peak at the end of August when it was announced that the brand will organise a photographic exhibition during London Fashion Week.
Celebrating British photography, "Here We Are" (September 18 - October 1 at Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, London) will feature iconic images by more than 30 photographers.
The event was announced on WWD with an article that featured a rather interesting subtitle: "The exhibit, which will feature over 200 photos, was curated by Bailey, writer, curator and director of Claire de Rouen Lucy Kumara Moore and cocurated by Alasdair McLellan."
It is hard not being fascinated by the subtitles to this article because, linguistically, they prove we have lost the ability to use a Thesaurus and that hip and cool words are used by journalists and press officers like a drunkard may use a lamppost, in a nutshell we employ them to make things sound more grand than they actually are.
There is nothing wrong in merging art, fashion and photography as Burberry is doing, but the continuous use of the "curator/curated by" terms in Burberry's case in connection with Bailey is starting to sound ridiculously contrived.
Curating means selecting, choosing, editing, refining and organising something using professional or expert knowledge, but in the case of this exhibition you can almost picture a press officer showing images to Bailey and the creative director nodding or shaking his head. In a way it would be better if Burberry stopped overusing the words "curator/curated by" or if they would at least eliminate Bailey from the equation and let somebody else do the job to offer more variety to readers and consumers. We dread the day when fashion designers will say they have "curated" a fashion collection, hinting at the fact they may have not created it, but copied, pasted and re-assembled it (well, quite a few of them are already working along these lines...).