Class of 2014: Historical Costume at MoMu Gallery

Illustration: Ola Kawalko

Illustration: Ola Kawalko

Until the 4th of January, you can enjoy the historical costumes made by the talented students of the 2nd year of the Antwerp Fashion Department in our MoMu Gallery (free entrance). These costumes were also part of SHOW14.

From the rich history of fashion and dress, each 2BA student has to choose a historical figure with a costume typical for the period. The students have to do thorough research, including the political, cultural and social structures of the time, as well as a detailed study of the fabrics, materials, patterns and shapes that are characteristic of the costume. The students then spend the first two months recreating the costume down to the smallest details, including underwear, accessories, hairstyles and make-up.


The result is a contemporary improvisation using ‘calicot’ cotton as a basic fabric and colour, and using the original document as a reference for recreating authentic volumes, structures, decoration and colours. This time-consuming assignment prepares the students for the work they will have to do during the next two terms, in which the emphasis lies in the creation of an avant-garde fashion collection of five silhouettes.

The poster image is a drawing by Ola Kawalko (Poland) who chose a self-portrait by the American photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston from 1896 as the basis for her historical costume. The atmospheric photograph drew the attention of Kawalko and she created intriguing graphic work inspired by it, which can be seen in the gallery next to the historical costumes of the 2BA of the class of 2014.

We are astonished by the incredible details and the historical accuracy of these costumes. We encourage everyone to stop by our MoMu Gallery and enjoy these talents first-hand. It will not be the last time that we hear from them!

Words by Monica Ho