Mode Museum

MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp

This blog features posts from the various departments at the MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp who share their insights on the Museum's working, exhibitions and projects. MoMu is located in the centre of the Antwerp fashion district. Every year, the museum organises two thematic exhibitions, along with workshops, guided tours,...
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MoMu’s Twitter Celebration!

It is that festive time of year and MoMu is giving away Christmas surprises!

Make a photo of the Madame Grès exhibition, upload it to Twitter and include the hashtag #momuantwerp and @reply @momuantwerp. Each week, the best photo wins a MoMu Christmas surprise!

The Christmas surprise includes the catalogues: Veronique Branquinho – Moi Veronique, Bernhard Willhelm – Het Totaal Rappel, MoMu Symposium Men’s Fashion.
From all winning photos, the best one will receive a free one-year membership of MoMu+Friends!
Throughout December, the winning photo of the week will be announced on Facebook and Twitter.

Just a few rules help you:
- Remember textiles are vulnerable to light, so make your photo without flash! Doesn’t that add to the challenge?
- Multiple entries from one account will not be accepted. Participants with multiple tweets will only have their first tweet recognised as their valid entry.
- Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.
- The competition will commence from Monday December 10th 2012 to Sunday December 30th 2012 and is divided over three weeks 10/12-16/12, 17/12-23/12, 24/12-30/12.
- The winner of each week will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on the first Monday after each week.
- Winners of the competition will be notified by direct message through their personal Twitter accounts.
- Winning images will be chosen at the sole discretion of MoMu Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp
- Images that contain explicit or inappropriate content will not be considered.
- By entering this competition all participants grant the museum a nonexclusive perpetual license and rights to use all content that is published and shared on the museum’s official Twitter account

One Thousand Pleats: Christmas Workshops for Children

On the occasion of the expo Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion, the MoMu presents ‘One Thousand Pleats’, a workshop for children from 7 to 12 years during the Christmas holidays. Get the opportunity to learn to sculpt and drape like Madame Grès!

MoMu ‘One Thousand Pleats’ Workshop for children, 2012, Photo: Maaike Delsaert

Workshop 1 – for children from 7 to 9 years
What: active tour at the exhibition + draping initiation
When: Thursday January 3rd 2013, from 10AM until 4PM

Workshop 2 – for children from 10 to 12 years
What: active tour at the exhibition + draping initiation
When: Friday January 4th 2013, from 10AM until 4PM

Price: €16 per day, per child
Lunch and drinks not included, Language: Dutch
Info: / +32 3 470 27 74
Reservations: Prospekta
+32 3 338 95 85
Tue-Fri: 10AM until 5.45PM, Sat: 12AM until 5PM

MoMu ‘One Thousand Pleats’ Workshop for children, 2012, Photo: Maaike Delsaert

Science Day at MoMu on November 25th

Did you ever realize that fashion is a scientific affair?

On Sunday November 25th, MoMu will participate in ‘Dag van de Wetenschap’ (Science Day) with a variety of demonstrations, workshops and exhibitions. Watch how we keep a Maison Martin Margiela jacket in tip-top shape for generations to come or go back in time and explore the history of wool dyeing. Ever wondered what your shoe can say about you? Get your feet measured at the ‘Future Footwear’ project or get crafty and make your own (sustainable!) pair of shoes. To top it all off, access to the current exhibition ‘Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion’ will be free this day!

Shoe atelier 3rd BA Mode – KASK, School of Arts Ghent, Beyond Footwear, Photo: Alexander Meeus

Check out the ‘Dag van de Wetenschap’ (Science Day) programme at MoMu!

Paul Boudens, the man behind the MoMu logo

This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of MoMu. Ten years of the MoMu Fashion Museum: that means twenty major theme-based or designer exhibitions and countless other projects in and outside the ModeNatie building. Time and again, fashion designers, photographers, exhibition designers, artists, performers and the entire MoMu team have worked on yet another new story. In total, these MoMu exhibitions were visited by more than 800.000 people. Because it is always rewarding to take a look back when a new period is beginning, the MoMu is exhibiting the 20 posters for these exhibitions in the entrance hall until December 2nd.

MoMu exhibition posters in the entrance hall, 2012, Photo: MoMu

We sat down with graphic artist Paul Boudens, who designed almost all the posters in the installation.

Portrait Paul Boudens, Photo: Ronald Stoops

How does it feel to see your work come together at MoMu?
Ten years went by so fast… I see my life flash by with 200 kilometres per hour (laughs)!

How did the collaboration between MoMu and you start?
I sort of rolled into it. I was already designing posters for the Antwerp Fashion Department and working with Walter Van Beirendonck during my graphic design studies in the late eighties. Also, I already knew Linda Loppa, who was teaching at the Academy at that time. Then in 2001, I was working on Fashion 2001Landed-Geland (a city project around fashion, [red.]) and A Magazine. The MoMu in a way rolled out of these projects. The next year, Linda (then director of ModeNatie [red.]) asked me to design the MoMu housestyle, and the catalogue and poster for the opening exhibition Selection I: Backstage. And suddenly we’re ten years later.

MoMu exhibition posters in the entrance hall, 2012, Photo: MoMu

How do you design a poster for MoMu?
Usually, the museum provides me with a couple of images — for use or inspiration — if they have any. Sometimes the design process goes really fast, other times it can take weeks. After all, the campaign image is the starting point for the rest of the designs: books, invitation, brochures, etc. Although I am not working at the museum, the entire process is a collaboration with the team. I like to know about the scenography in advance, to get a true feel of the subject matter. Anyway, I do not like a job that is too easy, I like a bit of a challenge.

MoMu exhibition posters in the entrance hall, 2012, Photo: MoMu

Do you have any personal favourites and why those?
All of them are my babies! How can I choose between them? Some of them are better than others, but if I have to pinpoint the highlights, they would be Patterns, 6+ Antwerp Fashion, Yohji Yamamoto – Dreamshop and Black. I like them because they are very pure and simple: less is more, always.

Next to MoMu you are working on other projects as well, can you give a few examples of those?
I like to design anything really. In the last decades I have been working with and for fashion designers Walter Van Beirendonck, Jurgi Persoons, Olivier Theyskens, Haider Ackermann and Yohji Yamamoto. I worked on A Magazine for ten years, and lately I’ve been designing a lot of books, the last one was Interior Life for Gert Voorjans. His style is very abundant and I am generally more minimalist in my aesthetic, so that was a great challenge!

You have designed the house style of MoMu, why did you choose red and what is the story behind the logo?
I have a thing for red. Red is also the colour of the City of Antwerp. Also, one of my early influences was Bauhaus, in which primary colours are always used. I also took inspiration from the cigarette brand I was smoking at the time. Inspiration is everywhere. (laughs)
But red is the love of my life, so to say. I use other colours too though. (laughs)

MoMu+Friends and The Friends of the Flemish Opera

On Saturday November 10th, MoMu+Friends, the friends organisation of the MoMu will receive the Friends of the Flemish Opera for a special afternoon during which the classical style of Madame Grès will meet the sound of classical music. Guests will be welcomed by a string quartet followed by a guided tour through the museum’s exhibition and a goodie bag for each visitor.

You can find more information on how to become a MoMu+Friend or how to register for this event on MoMu+Friend’s website!

The MoMu Effect

The Museum and Design Disciplines is an academic publication which originates in the series of research conferences organized and held at IUAV University of Venice (2011), in collaboration with Fondazione di Venezia. Edited by Maddalena Dalla Mura and Matteo Ballarin, the book aims to focus on the multifarious relationships that connect design disciplines and the contemporary museum, which, beyond the real or alleged booms or crisis, definitely is a significant cultural, economic, political, and social element and player.

Museum and Design Disciplines is divided in three sections: Society and Participation, Design Culture and Relations. Within the second section, it is possible to read an essay about MoMu. Written by Marco Pecorari – Phd Candidate at the Centre for Fashion Studies (Stockholm University), the essay is named “MoMu Effect: On the Relation between FashionDesign and Fashion Museum”. In this essay, Pecorari explores the relation between fashion design and fashion museum by presenting the case of MoMu and its peculiar relation with Antwerp fashion design. Investigating MoMu through the analysis of its exhibitions, Pecorari shows how MoMu approaches fashion design as a “discipline capable of self-reflection and able to produce those instruments that may be used afterwards as hermeneutic tools or metaphors to read fashion in its complexity”. Transporting the ‘Bilbao effect’ neologism into fashion, Pecorari explains how the ‘MoMu Effect’ must not only be seen as the cultural iceberg of a shopping phenomenon but as a crucial example for future reflections on fashion on behalf of museums.

The pink velvet Madame Grès dress from Galliera

For our exhibition Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion we had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with musée Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. They entrusted our museum also with the care of the conservation of a pink velvet dress and skirt from Madame Grès’s Autumn/Winter 1956 collection, inventory number 1979.24.25. The material of this dress is a silk velvet. The dress was worn by Miss Hardion, the wife of a French ambassador, and frequent client of Madame Grès.

This piece was not shown in the Galliera exhibition at musée Bourdelle. Because of its bad condition it was impossible to present this dress without performing a proper conservation treatment. The dress was torn on stressful points where the huge amount of fabric came together and it was necessary to give these weak points a proper support to protect the dress from further damage. Also the skirt needed a new support to carry the weight of the huge amount of velvet fabric.

Most disturbing was the fact that the dress was wrinkled really bad. After doing some tests, we found a safe way to flatten the dress without squashing the velvet. We laid the dress with the velvet side on a soft pillow, then on the back side we applied a layer of gore-tex, on top of the gore-tex – a moist blotting paper and on top of that small bags of sand for the weight. Thanks to the pillow and presumably the high quality of the velvet, the pile of velvet was not squashed.

The result was really satisfying and now we are proud to show you this beautiful piece in our exhibition!

The author works in the conservation and restoration department at MoMu.

Madame Grès captured

Skimming through the pages of old fashion magazines at the MoMu Library to find a visual reference of Madame Grès’s designs is a fascinating challenge.

During the Interwar period and the immediate years after the Second World War – when Grès’s career flourished – editors were more eager than ever to give imagery a timeless appeal as haute couture revived. By the same token, the reader’s eye commanded what felt within its gaze: the pictures had to touch a nerve by portraying the feminine and memorable silhouettes on the right model.

The readers of the French monthlies L’Officiel and Vogue France were regarded as ladies of leisure possessing faultless taste. By pinpointing e.g. the natural waistline and superbly cut dresses, magazines gave women a vivid taste of fashion. In the pictures above, the ancient secrets of antic sculptures were revealed in a modern way. The feeling of movement was emulated by pleating artificial silk jersey in different ways with great appreciation for exquisite draping details. Therefore the unknown photographer succeeded in capturing ‘des lignes vivantes’ of Grès.

After the Liberation her collections remained a gold mine of information for French fashion journalists, who were fascinated by the ‘pli Grès’ technique and her clean cuts. A glance at the article of Jeanne Stéphane in L’Officiel in 1946 showed that she was quite impressed by Madame Grès’s flexible dress coat. The mixture of subtle contradiction in her work was shown here: flow and structure, classic but innovative.

be sure to visit the MoMu library to take a closer look at the fashion periodicals we have collected over the past ten years. They are the pre-eminent interpreters of the laws of fashion, magazines serve as means of spreading specific information and opinions about designers like Madame Grès and their influence on our daily lives in the past, present and future.

(text by Christin Ho)

Interview with Bob Verhelst

We sat down with artistic director and scenographer Bob Verhelst, who designed the scenography for many of MoMu’s exhibitions, including Madame Grès.

How would you describe the work of a scenographer?
The scenographer shapes the exhibition. Unlike the curator, who works on the content. The scenographer decides on the overall look, the hanging and placing of objects, the light and the colour, how the visitor moves through the exhibition. By doing so, the scenographer supports the theme of the exhibition and creates the atmosphere that fits that theme That is why the scenographer is involved in the preparations of the exhibition in a very early stage and works closely with the curator. Sometimes the scenographer can also act as curator.

MoMu and you have worked together in the past on various exhibitions. How did the collaboration between MoMu and you originate?
Coincidentally actually. I just came back from a year in Hong Kong and at that moment Linda Loppa [previous director of ModeNatie] was organising MoMu’s first exhibition. Because the building was not ready at the time, we spread the exhibition over various museums in Antwerp. The theme was how geometric patterns form the basis of a design. We worked on this idea together and I was both scenographer and curator for this exhibition.

For the scenography of Madame Grès you worked with sculptor Renato Nicolodi. How did this collaboration come about?
I saw the initial exhibition of Madame Grès, Couture à l’oeuvre, at the Musée Antoine Bourdelle in Paris. Musée Bourdelle is a sculpture museum and I thought this ambiance fitted Madame Grès perfectly. She actually wanted to become a sculptor!
That is why I wanted to work with a contemporary sculptor and I felt this perfect click between the work of Renato and Madame Grès. They have a similar approach to the use of references to other cultures and civilisations, e.g. antiquity. Bringing together sculpture and fashion feels very fresh and new.

Which challenges did you encounter while preparing Madame Grès?
Textiles are very sensitive. Some pieces at the initial exhibition in Musée Bourdelle could no longer be exposed to light because they were too fragile. That is why this exhibition contains a variety of new pieces from museums, galleries and private collectors. We also explore the link between the past and the current by adding pieces from contemporary designers.

What did you enjoy most about preparing this exhibition?
I really enjoyed all the preparatory work: thinking about the concept, working with Renato who had carte blanche in his pieces, that feeling of artistic freedom. Furthermore, it is fantastic to open these boxes and see these pieces for the first time, to place them, to play with light and shadow and to see how the space slowly comes together. To see what you had in mind become reality, that is always exciting.

Hamish at Grès

Today we welcomed Hamish Bowles, International Editor at Large for Vogue USA at the Madame Grès exhibition! Mr. Bowles is an avid collector of vintage fashion and 5 dresses from his personal collection also feature throughout the exhibition. He loved our adaptation of the orginial Galliera expo at Musée Bourdelle and was very happy to see his dresses come to life in this Antwerp setting.

Mr. Hamish Bowles at the entrance of the expo Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion. Image shot with Pentax K-01

’8 ties’ by Miguel Chevalier for Hermès at the MoMu entrance hall

From September 28th until October 7th, Hermès presents ’8 ties’, an animation by the French artist Miguel Chevalier to be presented in an installation in the hall of the MoMu.

Miguel Chevalier has been using computers as his principal artistic medium since 1978 thus establishing himself on the international scene as a pioneer of virtual and digital art.
The artist has incorporated eight Hermès tie designs into his virtual and poetic universe, to present the new ‘Heavy Twill’ tie collection from an unexpected angle. Two installations created for Hermès will delight and inspire the visitor: the interactive, virtual-reality wall projection inspired by the artist’s “Binary Wave” artwork and an interactive virtual book adapted from his “Herbarius 2059”.

In the case of the freestanding installation each of the 8 tie patterns will take on a colourful and spectacular life of their own in an immersive installation where the visitors’ movements drive the action and activate a generative music composed by the composer Jacopo Baboni Schilingi. In the other piece, seemingly magical book will present each of the new tie designs in an unexpected way accompanied by metaphorical texts written by philosopher Christine Buci-Glucksmann.

’8 TIES’ by Miguel Chevalier for Hermès
from September 28th until October 7th
installation in the hall of the MoMu, Nationalestraat 28, 2000 Antwerp
from Tuesday until Sunday from 10AM until 6PM

Happy happy MoMu!

Today we celebrate our 10th anniversary! Throughout these years we have been able to work together with a number of enthusiastic designers that dare to raise the bar and dare to be critical. It is this daring incentive, coupled with striving for quality that has made them so enthusiastic about joining us in our project, about experimenting and growing together with us!

Here are some wishes from the designers we collaborated with!

Happy 10 years MoMu by Maison Martin Margiela

Happy 10 years MoMu by Stephen Jones

Happy 10 years MoMu by A.F. Vandevorst

Happy 10 years MoMu by Bernhard Willhelm, Image : Geoffrey Lillemon for Bernhard Willhelm

Happy 10 years MoMu by Yohji Yamamoto

Happy 10 years MoMu by Delvaux

On this special day, our thanks also goes to all those who have helped put MoMu on the world map in these last few years. In the first place, they are the Province of Antwerp, for their abiding belief in the need for a strong Fashion Museum. We also extend a special word of thanks to Linda Loppa, the spiritual godmother of MoMu. It was she who defined the vision that we are still building on today. It is her enthusiasm, her eye for beauty and innovation, her passion and ambition that I still feel in our projects, exhibitions and publications.

Finally, we would like to thank all of those who have embraced us for all these years with the best imaginable care, whose expertise and creativity have been of inestimable value for our activities: most notably the designers and their teams, as well as the lenders, exhibition designers, graphic designers, photographers, academics, authors, researchers, guides, Friends, sponsors, volunteers, interns and — last but not least — our visitors.

We are hoping to see you soon again!