SWEET 18 – A day in the life of Marie Antoinette

For many artists the 18th century is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. The exhibition SWEET 18 at Kasteel d’Ursel in Antwerp will show you the 18th century through the eyes of fifty contemporary designers. Put together by curators with expertise in various art forms, the exhibition allows you to discover how The Age of Enlightenment influenced the work of artists as Erwin Olaf, Wim Delvoye and Walter Van Beirendonck.

Among the curators is Wim Mertens, curator of the MoMu Collection, who helped putting together the fashion-part of the SWEET 18-exhibition. When it comes to fashion the extravagant style of Marie Antoinette was a trigger for many designers. Her tight bodice, wide skirt and gigantic wig were all part of her exuberant lifestyle and are now a source of inspiration. Thus Wim Mertens gathered some of the most striking and fitting pieces from the MoMu collection.

SWEET 18 - Kasteel d'Ursel

SWEET 18 – Kasteel d’Ursel

The result is a visual summary of how Marie Antoinette was the catalyst for collections of designers as Yohji Yamamoto as well as French fashion houses like Nicholas Ghesquière for Balenciaga, Raf Simons for Dior, Thierry Mulger and Olivier Theyskens for Rochas and Nina Ricci. Also Walter Van Beirendonck, Bernhard Willhelm and Jolien-Rosanne Klaassen will surprise you with their take on the 21st century Marie Antoinette.

Wim Mertens, Curator of the MoMu Collection: The silhouettes that have been selected to be shown in SWEET 18 have both obvious and more subtle references to the fashion styles of the 18th century. The visitors are challenged to discover and interpret these links so that the garments are experienced in a new and sometimes unexpected  and unusual way.  The interaction with the scarcely changed 18th century apartments of the castle creates an elegant and refreshing effect.

© Yohji Yamamoto - Walter Van Beirendonck Foto's: Stanny Derderen

© Yohji Yamamoto – Walter Van Beirendonck
Foto’s: Stanny Derderen

You can go and explore the former summerhouse of the d’Ursel family from 1/05/2015 until 5/07/2015. In the old bedrooms of the family you can behold the various sculptures, furniture, paintings and of course fashion pieces to a soundtrack by British composer Max Richter.

Of course MoMu+friends will be there to see what the exposition has to offer. They will enjoy a guided tour by Wim Mertens himself and afterwards there is an afternoon tea to be savored by the friends. If you want to join us, become a MoMu+friend for this and many other experiences.