Set in the heart of the city’s fashion district, Antwerp’s fashion Museum is a dynamic and inspiring space with soaring ceilings and distinctive contemporary architecture. The building is also home to the Fashion Department of the Academy, and the relationship between the two institutions ensures that MoMu is very much a living museum with active links to contemporary fashion culture as well as historical expertise.
The new exhibition at the Fashion Museum brings together painting and fashion on the theme of domestic bliss. Rik Wouters is the only painter from this part of the world to have...
MoMu presents two major exhibitions every year, which can be themed or monographic shows, displays showcasing pieces from the museum’s permanent collection or touring exhibitions from partner...
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BACKSTAGE: SELECTION I
21 September 2002 – 4 April 2003
MoMu's opening exhibition presented an introductory display of works from the collection, and laid the foundation for future shows by rejecting a linear, chronological display, instead showing pieces from across five centuries united by themes such as ‘Black/White’, ‘A Sense of Craft’ and ‘Embroidery’. The idea was to present the archive as a kind of treasure house, in which rich pieces were stored alongside one another in dark and humble conditions; the audience was invited to look behind the scenes of the museum, and get a sense for the direction of future exhibitions. Photo © Koen De Waal.
9 September 2003 – 28 March 2004
The tongue-twister title creates a link between the ports of Genoa and Antwerp, both of which experienced a period of strong growth and cultural prominence in the 17th century during the transition from Renaissance to Baroque. Pieces from the exhibition has previously been shown in ‘Arte e Lusso della Seta a Genova dal ‘500 al ‘700’, an exhibition shown in Genoa about the design, weaving and use of silk in Italy during this period. At MoMu, the show was transformed by a radical scenography created by fashion designer Angelo Figus that juxtaposed the historical exhibits with surreal decorative elements and contemporary textiles by design houses from Antwerp and Italy, including Missoni, Gianfranco Ferré, Romeo Gigli, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Roberto Cavalli. This exhibition was presented in the context of Europalia Italy. Photo © J. Sonck.
24 April 2003 – 10 August 2003
Patterns can be described as the technical drawings behind a garment. While they are of interest to museum curators as research materials, they are rarely shown in the context of an exhibition. MoMu’s ‘Patterns’ inverted this relationship, making the technical drawing the point of focus, ancillary to the finished garment. Within each pattern is a suggestion not only of a possible piece of clothing, but also of the body that will inhabit it, and, by extension, the ideal body shape of that era. The exhibition included works by Haider Ackermann, A.F. Vandevorst, Hussein Chalayan and Walter Van Beirendonck. Photo © Koen De Waal.
18 September 2004 – 30 January 2005
The first collaboration between MoMu and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Malign Muses examined the relationship between historic and contemporary fashion, illustrating how the memory of designs past inspired modern garments like a kind of ‘malign muse’. The exhibition traced patterns of repetition and influence, both conscious and otherwise. Curated by Judith Clark, and based on her years of research both at the V&A and at the London College of Fashion, the exhibition featured a selection of items, both historical and contemporary, drawn from the permanent collections of the Fashion Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as from the archives of A.F. Vandevorst, Bernhard Willhelm, Bruno Pieters, Dries Van Noten, Hussein Chalayan, Maison Martin Margiela, Veronique Branquinho and Walter Van Beirendonck. Photo © Tim Stoops.
8 May 2004 – 22 August 2004
The styles of classical antiquity have been a perennial influence in women’s wear over the last two centuries. MoMu’s ‘Goddess’ exhibition brought together elements from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute exhibitions ‘Goddess, The Classical Mode’ and extended the theme to take in pieces from the Spring Summer 2004 collections which exhibited striking classical influence. Silhouettes in the exhibition ranged from masterful pleated dresses by Madame Grès to contemporary works from designers including Victor&Rolf and Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe. Photo © Tim Stoops.
KATHARINA PROSPEKT: The Russians by A.F. Vandevorst
9 September 2005 – 5 February 2006
An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx, the designers behind the Antwerp-based fashion label A.F. Vandevorst present a selection of objects and costumes from the collection of the State Historical Museum in Moscow. Familiar tropes of Russian style have been very influential on A.F. Vandevorst collections, in particular in the use of materials such as leather, fur and felt, and in references to military and religious costumes. The playful exhibition design integrates clichés of Russia from popular culture, including giant matrioshka doll-shaped display cases and mannequins in soviet-era dress arranged queuing at a checkpoint. This exhibition was presented in the context of Europalia Russia. Photo © Ann Vallé.
25 February 2005 – 14 August 2005
This multidisciplinary exhibition brought together fashion, studio photography, art and documentary footage to explore the interplay between African and West European visual culture, taking desire as a central theme. Exhibits included silhouettes by Ashish and Bernhard Willhelm, photographs by Depara, Malick Sidibé and Apagya and a shop installation created by Malian fashion designer Xuly Bët. Photo © Tim Stoops.
THE MOMU COLLECTION: SELECTION II
8 September 2006 - 17 June 2007
This second presentation of pieces from the MoMu collection was once again arranged by theme rather than chronologically. Bob Verhelst’s scenography for the exhibition was inspired by the display designs of 19th Century department stores (one such store, Old England, had once occupied the ground floor of the MoMu building). Displayed on and above a series of specially designed tables, arrangements of bodices, trench coats, lingerie, hats and regional costumes could be studied at leisure and in detail. The exhibition included works by Dries Van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, Rochas, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Veronique Branquinho, Comme des Garçons, A.F. Vandevorst and Stephen Jones. Photo © Jacques Sonck.
DREAMSHOP: YOHJI YAMAMOTO
7 March 2006 - 13 August 2006
One of a sequence of Yamamoto exhibitions (the collection had previously been shown in Florence and Paris), the MoMu show paid special tribute to the important links between Antwerp and Japanese fashion. Over 70 complete silhouettes were shown from across the designer’s career, including 15 pieces that were available for visitors to try on and one that was exhibited on the terrace showing the slowly emerging ravages of the sun and rain. Special attention was also given to recurring themes in Yamamoto’s collections, including outsized garments, the colour black, the combination of black and red, unbalance and asymmetry, unfinished garments and uniforms. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
BERNHARD WILLHELM: HET TOTAAL RAPPEL
13 July 2007 - 10 February 2008
In 2006, Bernhard Willhelm and his collaborative partner Jutta Kraus donated their entire clothing archive to MoMu. This donation was the main impetus behind an exceptional retrospective that created a complete fantasy universe within the MoMu gallery space that evoked the sinister and absurd narrative landscape of Willhelm’s design language. In an exhibition so all-encompassing that it could fairly be referred to as a gesamtkunstwerk, Willhelm and Kraus collaborated with a large group of artists and designers including Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, Sarah Kueng, Roman Bleichenbacher, Michael Gross, Megi Zumstein and Claudio Barandun. Between them they rendered the distinctive visual language of the Bernhard Willhelm look-books as compelling three dimensional displays evoking themes as diverse as rave culture, Tyrolean folk costume, left-wing protests and American football. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
6+. ANTWERP FASHION
25 January 2007 - 23 June 2007 (presented at De Loketten, Brussels and Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo)
Discussion of Antwerp Fashion is too often limited to the work of the ‘Antwerp Six’ (Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee), the group of young designers who, together with Martin Margiela, broke onto the international scene during the 1980s. Important and influential as they were, this exhibition went beyond the six, looking back to the roots of fashion influence in the city of Antwerp itself, and then in closer to the present day, to the two successive waves of young designers that have added to the Antwerp fashion identity, including Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Bruno Pieters, Christian Wijnants and Peter Pilotto. Photo © Patrick Robyn - Ann Demeulemeester, 1989 | Design: Paul Boudens.
Moi, VERONIQUE. BRANQUINHO TOuTe NUe
12 March 2008 - 17 August 2008
To mark the 10th anniversary of her label, the Fashion Museum presented the exhibition ‘Moi, VERONIQUE. BRANQUINHO TOuTe NUe’. The French-Dutch wordplay in the title referring both to the overview that this exhibition offered of Veronique Branquinho’s collections and to the exceptionally personal character of her work. Her work is seldom inspired by a single specific source, and the exhibition reflected this in a series of dreamscapes and impressionistic displays that included an enchanted forest, fragments of film, a tweed-lined room, snatches of music and silhouettes viewed on a zoetrope. Branquinho often works with atmospheres, with what she herself describes as ‘frozen images’: a photographic snapshot, a given gesture, a film still or the memories and feelings that are evoked by certain articles of clothing. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA '20'
12 September 2008 - 8 February 2009 (and tour)
Over 20 years, the Paris-based Maison Martin Margiela has developed a discrete aesthetic universe based around notions of masking, trompe l’oeil, artisanship and the unexpected. Rather than being a classic retrospective, this exhibition illustrated how the aesthetic conceptualism of the house has manifested itself in everything from the communications, store designs, and events to the collections themselves. Spilling giant sequins out into the streets of Antwerp itself, the scenography of the show reflected the design of the house atelier in Paris, and placed particular emphasis on the hand-worked aspect of the house’s output. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
6 March 2009 - 16 August 2009
Paper has been used in fashion in various cultures and historical periods, but it is still a little known and little studied phenomenon. Beginning with a unique collection of 1960s’ paper dresses from the Atopos collection (Athens), PAPER FASHION focused on the use of paper and related materials in modern and contemporary fashion. While the initial allure of paper dresses came from their overt modernity and the attractions of fun, disposable fashion, more recent designers have explored paper’s potential for expressing simplicity, and conversely, for being able to take on highly complex sculptural forms through techniques such as origami. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
DELVAUX. 180 Years of Belgian Luxury
17 September 2009 - 21 February 2010
Founded in 1829, the Belgian leather goods house Delvaux is thought to be the oldest luxury goods house in the world. Delving into the process and techniques that go into creating handbags fit for (fashion) royalty, the exhibition charted the evolution of the company, from the manufacture of travel goods for the local nobility in the 19th century, through the rise of the modern handbag in the 20th century, to the company’s vision of a new kind of elegance under its then artistic director Veronique Branquinho. The exhibition design referenced the early days of mass travel via train, ocean liner and airplane and recreated part of the company’s Brussels atelier. Photo © Frederik Vercruysse.
BLACK. Masters of Black in Fashion & Costume
25 March 2010 - 8 August 2010
The city of Antwerp has a special affection for the colour black. Once one of Europe’s leading centres for dyeing black textiles, black is still the colour associated with many of Antwerp’s most prominent designers. Looking back to the development of dying techniques, and examining the colour’s association with mourning dress, formal portraiture, business suits and the counter-culture, exhibits include painting, historic costume and contemporary fashion. This exhibition also looked more deeply into the textures and the potentials of black in diverse materials, including fur, leather and lace. Photo © Frederik Vercruysse.
Stephen Jones & The accent of fashion
8 September 2010 - 13 February 2011
From his early days at the forefront of London’s New Romantic era, outfitting the fabulous Blitz Club kids, to his extravagant (but perfectly conceived) creations for houses such as Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Lanvin, milliner Stephen Jones has been a font of extraordinary ideas. MoMu houses the largest collection of Stephen Jones hats – more than 120 items – outside of Great Britain, thanks to a long-term loan by the Antwerp private collectors, Geert Bruloot and Eddy Michiels. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Jones’s house, Stephen Jones Millinery, MoMu presented a retrospective exhibition showcasing both his own ground-breaking collections, and his witty, elegant and inventive collaborations. Photo © Frederik Vercruysse.
Unravel. Knitwear in fashion
16 March 2011 - 14 August 2011
Knitwear is highly versatile, luxurious and a continuing source of inspiration for high-end fashion. Disposing of knitwear’s dowdy associations, this exhibition introduced the visitor to a wide variety of exquisite knitted garments and accessories from across the last centuries, with a focus on high fashion pieces and their vernacular interpretations. Top pieces by national and international designers and labels, including Elsa Schiaparelli, Missoni and Vivienne Westwood, historic couture pieces as well as more avant-garde and cutting edge pieces by established designers and newcomers on the international fashion scene sat side by side to reveal the richness and diversity of knitwear in high fashion. Photo © Frederik Vercruysse.
Walter Van Beirendonck. Dream the world awake
14 September 2011 - 19 February 2012
Walter Van Beirendonck’s colourful and iconoclastic career in fashion spans the futuristic world of techno club wear, fetishism, embroidery and fine tailoring. Fuelled by diverse fascinations, including ethnography, spiritualism and the supernatural, rituals, science fiction and technology, his collections often have a strong narrative drive. As well as showing exceptional pieces from his own collections and under the label W<, the MoMu exhibition revealed how Van Beirendonck examined the frontiers of beauty, and how he incorporated topical themes, including ecology, Aids and mass consumerism into his collections and presentations. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
LIVING FASHION: WOMEN’S DAILY WEAR 1750-1950
From the Jacoba de Jonge Collection
21 March 2012 – 12 August 2012
This exhibition presented 100 silhouettes from the Jacoba de Jonge collection, an exceptional bequest to the museum, totalling some 2500 items. Through pieces from the collection, the exhibition painted a picture of normal life, in silhouettes for every time of day in the lives of the middle-class women who wore them. From lingerie and household wear to travelling costumes, from maternity clothing to dresses for sports and summer ensembles, the women revealed in this collection were fashionable, but they were not trendsetting pioneers. They tried, for better or for worse, to follow the fashions of their day, but were not enslaved to it. The women we see reflected here were not the idealized images portrayed in fashion plates, but living women leading ordinary lives. Photo © Ronald Stoops.
MADAME GRES: SCULPTURAL FASHION
12 September 2012 – 10 February 2013
Parisian couturier Madame Grès pioneered a distinctive technique of working sculpturally with huge lengths of fine fabric, pleating it and draping it on the body to create exquisitely elegant seamless garments. Taking pieces from the Musée Gallièra collection in Paris that had previously been exhibited at the Musée Bourdelle, the MoMu exhibition showed Madame Grès’s works alongside those of contemporary designers, including Haider Ackermann, whose work she has influenced. Added emphasis was placed on the sculptural quality of the silhouettes by presenting them against specially commissioned installations and works by the Belgian artist Renato Nicolodi. Photo © MoMu / Boy Kortekaas.
COUTURE IN COLOUR
13 March 2013- 11 August 2013
During the 1950s and 1960s, the couturiers Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristóbal Balenciaga all worked together with the Swiss firm, Abraham, for their exclusive fabrics. This company was specialized in printing silks. The exhibition, Silks & Prints from the Abraham Archive. COUTURE IN COLOUR, revealed which colourful textile prints were created by the Abraham firm. Contemporary designers, including Dries Van Noten, Diane Von Furstenberg and Peter Pilotto, were invited to experiment with Abraham prints.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ACADEMIE AT MOMU
08 September 2013 - 16 February 2014
The Fashion Department without a doubt is one of the most prestigious fashion design programs worldwide. This 50th anniversary was the perfect opportunity for MoMu - Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp to dedicate an exhibition to the history of the fashion department, and the success story Antwerp fashion
Dries Van Noten. Inspirations
13 February 2015 - 19 July 2015
For the very first time in his career designer Dries Van Noten discloses his oeuvre in an exhibition. No classical retrospective, but an intimate journey into his artistic universe, revealing the singularity of his creative process, which he illustrates with his numerous sources of inspiration. The exhibition brings together various artistic fields through an assemblage of historical, pictorial, ethnic, cinematic and geographic references. While stressing the influences, the analogies and the contradictions in Dries Van Noten’s work, the show combines fashion design with the world of decorative and fine arts in order to illustrate the Belgian creator’s distinctive techniques and stylistic vocabulary.
ARCHIVE PIECE OF THE MONTH
Dress in synthetic hair
Dress in synthetic hair with braided belt, Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe 2000-01
Patrick van Ommeslaeghe graduated from the Antwerp Academy in 1990 and presented garments under his name for only a few seasons, between 1999 and 2001, during which time he was awarded the prestigious ANDAM award. These collections were memorable for the wonderful draping and striking colour ranges reminiscent of the palette used by Halston in the 1970s. Following stints at the couture house of Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier, Adeline André and Pucci, in 2005 he joined the design team of Raf Simons at Jil Sander. Photo MoMu Collectie © Hugo Maertens.
Jacket in printed silk
Ann Demeulemeester S/S 2010, jacket in printed silk
Birds – and in particular their feathers – have been a recurring motif in Ann Demeulemeester’s collections. Although not usually known for her work with printed or patterned textiles, 2010 was not her first sortie in the area – in 2000 she collaborated with the artist Jim Dine to use images from his Raven prints in her collection. The flapping wings on this jacket were snapped by the designer’s husband the photographer Patrik Robyn – an image of freedom and escape that was counterbalanced by the use of chains and restraining metal accessories elsewhere in the collection. Photo MoMu Collectie © Martin Bing.
Dress in printed silk
Jil Sander S/S 2011, dress in printed silk
Under the artistic direction of Raf Simons, the signature minimalism of the Jil Sander label was pushed to its conceptual limits with daring but intuitive use of colour and volume, reaching its dramatic apogee in this collection. Pairing neon-bright colours with billowing, floor-length skirts and voluminous dresses, the Simons also made judicious use of a handful of over-sized prints, including a broad stripe, and the floral pattern used for this dress, which in its dramatic volume, sophisticated femininity and acid-bright palette, unites many of the themes of the collection. Photo MoMu Collectie © Martin Bing.
Boot in leather with stiletto heel in metal
Maison Martin Margiela AW 2008-2009
From the debut collection some twenty years earlier, Maison Martin Margiela has investigated new and playful propositions as to what a shoe might be. There have been boots that resemble a naked leg wearing sandals, the famous Tabi footwear, shoes that appear muddy and a great variety of trompe l’oeil gestures. Here, a boot’s glamorous stiletto heel is apparently replaced by a large industrial nail; a literally pointed inversion of their status as luxury goods. Photo MoMu Collectie © Martin Bing.
Blouson in cotton with camouflage print
Bernhard Willhelm S/S 2010, blouson in cotton with camouflage print, decorated with machine embroidery
Bernhard Willhelm’s eye-catching designs are often influenced by the designer’s interest in notions of history and national identity, masculine physicality and sexuality. In this jacket, the traditional ‘manly’ camouflage print has been inverted, with its muddied colours in turn providing camouflage for leafy, intricate embroidery that sprouts delicately from the earthy tones of the garment. Photo MoMu Collectie © Martin Bing.
Purse in the shape of a glove
Purse in the shape of a glove, black leather, Maison Martin Margiela, c.1998–99
Gloves crop up in unexpected places in works by the Maison Martin Margiela – two years later an entire top was stitched out of black leather gloves, and in 2007 the imprint of a gloved hand appeared to ‘clutch’ a purse. Fuelled by a fascination for the structure of garments and the skill that goes into their construction the Maison regularly remade ‘found’ garments, or created precious one-off designs from components gleaned from second hand clothes. This purse, however is a playful illusion; quite literally a hand-bag. Photo MoMu Collectie © Daniel Rys.
Silk crêpe evening dress
House Timmermans, Lier 1925-27
In the 1820s the Timmermans family started a state-of the art lacemaking business in the Belgian town of Lier that revived the local lace tradition through the introduction of industrial techniques. The skills used in lacemaking were similar to those used in the application of beads and sequins, an area in which Timmermans in turn became highly regarded in the 1880s, making cocktail dresses and accessories for Bloomingdale’s in New York and Harrods in London among other international clients. Photo MoMu Collectie © Daniel Rys.
Afternoon dress by Roeis
Afternoon dress by Roeis
Roeis was a couture house open in Antwerp between 1911 and 1961. It was licensed to reproduce fashionable designs from the Parisian houses, which would be bought as paper patterns or toiles and brought back to Antwerp by Alice Roeis. The garments made up in Antwerp would be confected in textiles ordered from from Paris and finished to a very high couture standard. Roeis was the leading Antwerp fashion house of its day and MoMu holds a number of fine pieces from the house in its archive. Photo MoMu Collectie © Daniel Rys.
Caraco jacket & skirt
Caraco jacket 1770–1790 | Skirt 1750–1790
Caraco jacket in printed linen, England, 1770–1790, skirt in quilted silk satin, 1750–1790. The combination of skirt and jacket became popular during the 18th century though in very fashionable circles the jacket was regarded as being an informal garment, suitable for wear in the home or countryside. Around 1770, the jacket became fashionable, permitted as suitable garb for morning appearances. In France the jacket was known as a caraco or pierrot; the fortnightly magazine, Le Cabinet des Modes ou Modes Nouvelles, illustrated a lady with a purple pierrot with a white fichu, combined with an apple-green skirt in the issue of 15 December, 1785. Photo MoMu Collectie, inv nr B8 © Hugo Maertens.
Maternity dress, ca. 1880
Maternity dress, ca. 1880
This dress was remade from a somewhat older model, which had been worn as a wedding dress. The bodice closes tightly above the waist. The skirt has a waistband that moves upwards at the front.
Fashionable women’s magazines of the 19th century did not openly mention maternity and the need for special garments, but would usually include an illustration of a toilette d’interieur showing a dress that could fall more loosely at the front. Because of a certain coyness, and the artfulness in the design of such garments it has often been hard to distinguish and identify maternity costumes of the era. Photo MoMu Collectie, inv nr J233 © Hugo Maertens.
Dress by Ann Salens
Dress by Ann Salens
Active in Antwerp from the mid 1960s through the 1970s, Ann Salens became associated in particular with colourful garments typically combining elements of crochet, fringing and machine knitted panels in artificial silks. Her unstructured, flowing silhouettes were a perfect expression of liberated bohemian womanhood of the era. Photo MoMu Collectie, inv nr T07/6A © Hugo Maertens.