Exhibition

MOMU NOW: Interview with Bob Verhelst

Preparations at the MoMu NOW expo at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Monica Ho

Preparations at the MoMu NOW expo at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Monica Ho

We sat down with artistic director and scenographer Bob Verhelst, who designed the scenography for many of MoMu’s exhibitions, including our upcoming exhibition MOMU NOW.

How did you come up with the design for MOMU NOW?

While this exhibition will show contemporary fashion from the MoMu collection, I chose to use the Bauhaus-inspired primary colors red, white and black, which are part of the MoMu visual code, as color palette for the exhibition space. For this we used ‘traffic red’, ‘pitch black’ and ‘white’ paint from the Ambiance series of Levis. Next to the typical MoMu colors, I wanted to give the audience a look into the archives of the museum, including MoMu’s new external storage space.

'Traffic red' from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

‘Traffic red’ from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

'Traffic red' from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

‘Traffic red’ from the Levis Ambiance range and the typical MoMu red color to be implemented in the MoMu Now scenography, Photo: Monica Ho

Exhibition plan with scenography for the MoMu Now expo at Momu Fashion Museum Antwerp, technical drawing: Robby Timmermans and Bob Verhelst

Exhibition plan with scenography for the MoMu Now expo at Momu Fashion Museum Antwerp, technical drawing: Robby Timmermans and Bob Verhelst

You were also responsible for the other collection presentations of MoMu: BACKSTAGE: SELECTION I in 2002 and THE MOMU-COLLECTION: SELECTION II in 2006-07. Do you consider these exhibitions as a trilogy?

Yes, I do consider the three exhibitions as a trilogy. The first collection presentation was the opening exhibition of MoMu. We thought it was important, before doing a thematical presentation, to introduce MoMu to the audience by showing them what the MoMu collection consists of: the diversity of their specialized subcollections amongst which the lace collection, 19th century dress, the Antwerp 6 and Belgian designer pieces.
In the second collection presentation we mainly showed contemporary fashion from the museum collection. Since it has been seven years since the latest collection presentation, the collection has been extended a lot and the museum thought the time was ripe to give an overview of the latest acquisitions, because international as well as Belgian designers have donated extraordinary pieces from their archive recently. So the three exhibitions are definitely in line with each other.

What have you been working on besides MOMU NOW lately?

I’ve been working on the scenography of two other exhibitions. The first one is THE TIE. MEN FASHION POWER in the Swiss National Museum in Zurich and will open on the 19th of September. The fact that the tie is back in fashion forms the starting point of the exhibition, which presents the accessory in all its facets. The second exhibition is THE FUTURE OF FASHION IS NOW in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and will open on the 11th of October. This exhibition is about the latest generation of designers who design and present their collections in a totally different way: by using futuristic technologies and recycling techniques and being aware of the social value of clothes. Next to this I did the interior design for the new flagshipstore of A.F. Vandevorst in Antwerp that was officially opened last month.

Interview: Danique Klijs

Library

Visionaire Rio

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

We are happy to announce that the MoMu library received a new issue of Visionaire!
Visionaire, established in the spring of 1991, is a multi-format album of fashion and art produced in exclusive numbered limited editions. In the past Visionaire has published works by both famous and emerging artists from around the world as well as personalities, fashion designers, image-makers and other leaders in contemporary culture.

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, as our newest acquisition is titled, takes the shape of a 3D lenticular case that contains a stereoscope and 18 3D slides. When the Visionaire team was introduced to a stereoscope in a brainstorm 10 years ago, they were all taken by this compact object that allowed them to immerse themselves in a 3D world by simply looking at double-image slides through this little device. Back in the 19th century stereoscopes were the main source of travel images and pictures of current events from around the world. Today, as interest in 3D technology grows, Visionaire took this analogue approach to achieve the same mesmerizing effect.

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

Visionaire nr. 62 RIO, a new addition to the MoMu Library, Photo: Monica Ho

The images on the slides are interpretations of Rio, including: supermodel Gisele Bundchen nude in 3D by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott and controversial transgender model Lea T by world-renowned artist Maurizio Cattelan with Pierpaolo Ferrari and a still of the short film ‘Perroquet’ by Sølve Sundsbø which was shown during our last exhibition Birds of Paradise. The case itself appears in two different versions with different prints: one featuring an artwork by Fernando and Humberto Campana, the other featuring an artwork by Beatrix Milhazes.

On a regular basis, the MoMu library completes its collection with books on fashion, costume and textile. On our website you can find a limited list of new acquisitions

Words by Danique Klijs

Behind the scenes, Collection, Exhibition

A Brilliant donation

A donation from the Belgian leather good's house Delvaux to the MoMu Collection, Photo: MoMu

A donation from the Belgian leather good’s house Delvaux to the MoMu Collection, Photo: MoMu

Who doesn’t love receiving gifts? At MoMu, we surely do and our most favourite gifts are new additions to our Collection. For our upcoming exhibition MoMu Now, the Belgian luxury leather goods house Delvaux donated a copy of one its most iconic bags: the Brillant!

The black medium-sized Brillant from 2014 is the third Brilliant featuring in our collection. The two other Brillant versions are a red transparent vinyl one from 2012 named “Chaperon Rouge” and a colourless transparent vinyl one named “Noces d’Or” from 2008. Each of them are very special limited editions. The “Noces d’Or”, for example, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Brillant.

A donation from the Belgian leather good's house Delvaux to the MoMu Collection, Photo: MoMu

A donation from the Belgian leather good’s house Delvaux to the MoMu Collection, Photo: MoMu

You would not expect it, but the Brillant is already a 50 year legend. The Brillant was originally designed by Paule Goethals for the hostesses of the 1958 World Fair in Brussels and ever since has been a classic of the house. The bag has been spotted on the arms of royalties, celebrities and fashion lovers worldwide.

We invite you to come and admire our three Brillants and all the other recent acquisitions in our collection during the exhibition MoMu Now from September 25 onwards. If you want learn more about Delvaux, come and visit our library to see the catalogue of the exhibition Delvaux: 180 Years of Belgian Luxury that MoMu hosted in 2008.

Thank you Delvaux for this brilliant donation!

Collection

New acquisition Dior by Raf Simons

Dior by Raf Simons S/S2014, new acquisition for the MoMu Now expo, (c) MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp

Dior by Raf Simons S/S2014, new acquisition for the MoMu Now expo, (c) MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp

Just arrived in our Collection Department!
This fabulous top in silk, fibre and lurex Dior by Raf Simons for S/S 2014. Soon at the upcoming MoMu Now expo from September 25th!

Behind the scenes, Collection, Exhibition

Shooting MoMu Now

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Photographing collection pieces for the upcoming ‘MoMu Now’ exhibition and publication happens at our own MoMu studio. It is a stressful but also a delightful adventure.

We photograph about 14 silhouettes a day and some accessories. Sometimes silhouettes look really good in our studio but once the unmerciful photographer’s lense is directed at them, you see on the picture all the tiny folds and creases and things that are wrong, that you didn’t see before. So even though you’re well prepared there’s always extra work once it’s in front of the camera. Since the ‘model’, the mannequin or buste cannot move it can be a lot of effort to try and give her some natural grace and movement.

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4 people are busy adjusting and dressing silhouettes, and the photographer gives directions, just like on an editorial fashion shoot. And although the model doesn’t grow tired, we all do. Some dolls have outfit changes and some shoes still need to arrive on the day so it’s really a work in progress.

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This time we were very happy to be able to photograph all our newest acquiqitions, because we know them very well but normally have to wait for years before we can show them. Many Belgian fashion highlights such as Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, Olivier Theyskens, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, A.F. Vandevorst and Veronique Branquinho and many others were part of this shoot. You can really feel in the amount of detail and perfection that the Belgians are very strong both artistically and technically.

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And, even though Haider Ackermann, Bernhard Willhelm and Peter Pilotto weren’t born in Belgium, they went to the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, so we count them in with our Belgian designers, as their strong artistic signature, eye for detail and technical mastery is surely something they share with the other designers in the MoMu collection.

Library

MoMu Library is back and running!

MoMu Library, (c) MoMu Antwerp, photo: Yves Henckaerts

MoMu Library, (c) MoMu Antwerp, photo: Yves Henckaerts

With the summer holidays behind us, the MoMu library is back up and running! Making an appointment is no longer needed.

The library will be open on:
Wednesday 10AM – 12AM and 1PM – 4.45PM
Thursday 1PM – 16.45PM and 6PM – 8PM
Friday 1PM – 4.45PM
Saturday 10AM – 1PM (every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month)

Exhibition

Birds of Paradise exhibition guestbook

Guestbook of the Birds of Paradise exhibition at MoMu Antwerp, Photo: Danique Klijs

Guestbook of the Birds of Paradise exhibition at MoMu Antwerp, Photo: Danique Klijs

As with all our exhibitions, our visitors are invited to leave their comments in a guestbook. The ideal tool for visitors to express their opinion in a short and often anonymous way.

We have rounded up a selection of the best comments of our Birds of Paradise expo for you to enjoy!

Amazing feathers in Birds of Paradise guestbook

Amazing feathers in Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from Finland in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from Finland in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from California in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from California in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Birds of Paradise guestbook

Birds of Paradise guestbook

Feathered wish in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Feathered wish in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from Bunka Fashion School in Japan

Greetings from Bunka Fashion School in Japan

Excerpt from the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Excerpt from the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Excerpt from the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Excerpt from the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Goosebumps in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Goosebumps in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from Thailand in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Greetings from Thailand in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Ode to Alexander McQueen in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Ode to Alexander McQueen in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Mirror writing in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Mirror writing in the Birds of Paradise guestbook

Selection and compilation by Danique Klijs.

Exhibition

Sorry, we’re closed

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The MoMu exhibition space will be closed for the public from August 25th until September 25th. We will be back starting from September 25th with the expo ‘MOMU NOW: Recent acquisitions from the MoMu Collection’.

Here is some impressions from the demantling of the ‘Birds of Paradise’ exhibition!

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Exhibition, Press&PR

Winners Birds of Paradise drawing contest

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During this summer we received lots of entries for the Birds of Paradise children’s drawing contest.
We asked them to choose your favourite bird from the templates designed by Antwerp-based designer Minju Kim and compose the color scheme of its feathers.

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Thanks to everyone who participated to the contest! The winners are Willem Brosens (9 years) and Merel Hofman (11 years). They will receive a MoMu goodie bag and special present!

Exhibition

Ann Demeulemeester on feathers, fashion & freedom

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010, rooster feather headdress, MoMu collection, Inv. no. T90/223 at the Birds of Paradise expo in MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Boy Kortekaas

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010, rooster feather headdress, MoMu collection, Inv. no. T90/223 at the Birds of Paradise expo in MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp, Photo: Boy Kortekaas

MoMu asked the Antwerp designer Ann Demeulemeester to select a series of silhouettes for the Birds of Paradise expo that highlight her use of feathers in different ways. Feathers, and especially pigeon feathers are part of Ann Demeulemeester’s signature and her world. They stand for freedom, humbleness and poetry.

Ann Demeulemeester S/S 1992. Kirsten Owen modeling a bustier made of dove feathers at the 1st Ann Demeulemeester catwalk show in Paris. Photo: Marleen Daniëls

Ann Demeulemeester S/S 1992. Kirsten Owen modeling a bustier made of dove feathers at the 1st Ann Demeulemeester catwalk show in Paris. Photo: Marleen Daniëls

Have feathers always played an important role in your life and in your work?
Yes, since childhood, I have had a great respect for feathers, particularly dove feathers. For me, a dove feather represents the poetry of the ordinary: a sort of perfection that anyone can randomly find on the street. The first time I saw my husband, Patrick Robyn, he was wearing a black blazer with a small grey dove feather in his breast pocket. I noticed it immediately. For me, that was so very attractive, and it never changed: still today, he always wears a small dove feather. If I had to give this an absolute meaning, I would say that a feather is a symbol of freedom, a free spirit – the greatest luxury in life. For my first fashion show in Paris, for the 1992 spring/sumer collection, I placed on each chair a leather string holding some dove feathers. A small metal plate with my name was attached to it. Some people still have this little chain – and it has been more than twenty years! I still have mine too; it is a sort of talisman.

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010. Feather headdresses with dove and cock feathers. PHOTO: BVBA32

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010. Feather headdresses with dove and cock feathers. PHOTO: BVBA32

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010. Feather headdresses with dove and cock feathers. PHOTO: BVBA32

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2009-2010. Feather headdresses with dove and cock feathers. PHOTO: BVBA32

Why dove feathers in particular? How do you decide which feathers you want to use for which piece?
I find dove feathers more attractive because they combine fragility, simplicity, and poetry. We humans can make so many beautiful things; however, we cannot compete with the perfection of such a feather. For my collection, I primarily choose rooster, dove, or duck feathers: simple, humble feathers. Sometimes I have them painted. Plumes are an integrated element in the creation of a collection. We do not decide at the end which feather will match the piece. Sometimes, I use a feather to add balance to a piece, because a feather adds tenderness to a harder image. The contrast between hard and soft gives my collections an overall sensibility. A collection never entails a one-sided romantic or hard feel – it must always have a soul; that is where feathers are so meaningful. The choice of a type of feather depends on the effect I want to obtain. Sometimes, I paint a dove and a rooster feather in the same colour; this highlights the differences between the two types of plumes. A dove feather remains matte and somewhat grey with shades of red; the feather only absorbs part of the paint. A rooster feather is gleaming; colours are deeper with more black.

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2011-2012. Silhouette with painted duck feathers pictured as ammunition in an ammunition holder. PHOTO: BVBA32

Ann Demeulemeester A/W 2011-2012. Silhouette with painted duck feathers pictured as ammunition in an ammunition holder. PHOTO: BVBA32

You have immense respect for birds and feathers. How do you combine this respect with the processing of each piece?
Whether for feathers or for any other animal material such as fur or leather, I only use natural materials when I can do no harm. In other words, I only use skins of animals (goats, sheep, etc.) that are already used for meat consumption. I use the same principle for feathers: they are residues from the poultry farmer; I do not have birds plucked. For feathers, it is the same as for other animal skins: we have reached a very high level with fake fur, mostly visual, but the sense of real fur cannot be recreated with artificial material. In a fur coat you are never too hot or too cold; this material breathes and lives. We cannot perfect nature.