Behind the scenes, Exhibition

My favorite things: Christel Dierckx

Christel Dierckx, guard with her favorite silhouette of the MoMu Now exhibition

Christel Dierckx, guard with her favorite silhouette of the MoMu Now exhibition

In an ongoing series ‘My Favourite Things’ we ask MoMu staff members to choose their favourite object from the current exhibition.

Christel Dierckx, guard: Ensemble in silk and tulle decorated with flocked stripes and floral patterns, with two waistcoats, trousers, silk tricot sleeves, and a pair of open chamois boots, Ann Demeulemeester, S/S 2014.

‘This silhouette by Ann Demeulemeester to me is perfection. I love the way all the pieces are so harmoniously assembled, it’s like a jigsaw. I think the hat and the shoes really add the final touches to the whole. I love the colors, materials and the femininity of this look, it’s a very elegant, sweeping silhouette. If I could, I would love to wear it myself.’


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


My favorite things: Fréderic Boutié

In a new series ‘My Favourite Things’ we ask MoMu staff members to choose their favourite object from the current exhibition.

Since fashion is such a subjective and personal choice, this will make for some very varied and surprising objects, resulting in an amalgam of favourites across different exhibitions. You will get to know the MoMu staff through their choices and reasons for choosing the object, and because of their personal note and picture.

And since no one dislikes “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes”, let’s ring in the new series with a festive Julie Andrews.

First in our series is Fréderic Boutié from Paris, conservation and restoration intern at the MoMu Collection department: ‘My favorite object is the Christian Dior by Raf Simons outfit for spring-summer 2013. It is composed by a sleeveless top in black wool and a ballon skirt in printed silk and organza with changing reflects.


This is the first outfit for which I had to do the mannequinage for the exhibition “MoMu Now”. I could fully explore his scholarly construction which is a beautiful tribute to Christian Dior and the lines he has initiated. The architecture of the skirt is almost identical to those created in the late 1940′s and 1950′s. Its shape is created by layers of tulle and silk and just needs a support to be given to see, as a real sculpture. The changing effects from the organza in synthetic fibers give a very modern effect and invite us to turn around.

My work on this piece was mainly focused on the top, a little too wide for the bust. I had to transform this stockman bust so that it follows the lines of the knitted top in a way to respect the small waist and keep this silhouette that evokes the “New Look”.’

Collection, Exhibition

Dreamsuits by Bobbejaan & Josée Schoepen

MoMu Now - Contemporary Fashion from the MoMu Collection, Photo: Boy Kortekaas

MoMu Now – Contemporary Fashion from the MoMu Collection, Photo: Boy Kortekaas

You can see two outfits by the American ‘Rodeo Tailor’ Nudie Cohn in the exhibition MoMu Now, which were made for and worn by the Belgian music icon, entertainer and theme park owner Bobbejaan Schoepen and his wife Josée. Bobbejaan and Josée Schoepen wore these sparkling outfits for their music gigs at the Bobbejaanland theme park in the North of Antwerp in the 1970s. The typical ‘rhinestone cowboy’ look was initiated and brought to perfection by cult designer Nudie Cohn who made iconic outfits for stars like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Gram Parsons and Hank Williams. Bobbejaan was a lifelong customer and dear friend of Nudie Cohn and had the largest European collection of Nudie Cohn suits, as well as other designs like saddles, hats, a Cadillac and other objects.

Recently, after Bobbejaan died in 2010, the Schoepen family decided to bring the whole private Nudie Cohn clothing collection into the custody of MoMu, where they are kept in storage.
MoMu focuses in its collection policy mostly on Belgian designers, but also on iconic Belgians who have amazing private designer collections. The long-term loan of the Schoepen family is hence part of the recent acquisitions and can be seen in MoMu Now. This way, the memory of Bobbejaan and Josée Schoepen is still alive today and kept safe for tomorrow.

Nudie Cohn’s silhouettes have recently been rediscovered by the international fashion community, and for the 2011 exhibition ‘Dreamsuits: designs by Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo tailor’ curated by Mairi Mackenzie , Alice Hawkins from SHOWStudio made a great fashion film with Bobbejaan Schoepen’s dreamsuits worn by contemporary music icons.

Collection, Event

Workshop: recognizing lace techniques

(c) MoMu - Photo: Suzan Rylant

(c) MoMu – Photo: Suzan Rylant

Are you a lace fanatic or interested in the techniques of making lace? Then we have got a treat for you! On Tuesday, the 18th of November, MoMu is organizing a workshop that revolves around lace! It will take place partly in MoMu and partly in the Carolus Borromeus Church. The purpose of this workshop is to make the participants aware of the different techniques that go into the process of making lace.

Joining us will be Frieda Sorber, conservator of the historic collection in MoMu and Godelieve Vroom and Nora Andries, both who have connections with the Carolus Borromeus Church. Frieda Sorber manages our extensive lace collection and regularly advises in lace collections in Belgium and abroad. Godelieve and Nora are volunteers who are active in different churches and museums.

(c) MoMu - Photo: Suzan Rylant

(c) MoMu – Photo: Suzan Rylant

The day of the workshop will start off with a presentation on how to handle lace and identifying the various lace structures on the basis of the study collection of MoMu. In the afternoon, an introduction of various 17th and 18th centuries lace styles based on the collection of the Carolus Borromeus Church will be given.

Registration for the workshop is required. The number of places in the workshop is limited so signing up quickly is the key! Registration fee is 35 euros per person. Please send a mail to and state your name, address and possibly name of the institution/organization.


The Big Draw selection

Last weekend we received a huge amount of participants for the first edition of The Big Draw in Antwerp!

Together with madeleine Coisne, we challenged you to find a building in Antwerp that inspires you and draw it on a piece paper and sketch the pattern that draws your attention the most! Here is a selection of the results! Thanks for your participation!


















Behind the scenes, Exhibition

Birds of Paradise at The Bowes museum


It’s really nice to see an exhibition you curated traveling to a completely different setting and getting a new life after it finishes at MoMu. Yesterday we opened the Birds of Paradise: plumes and feathers in fashion exhibition at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, North England, a magnificent castle previously inhabited by John & Josephine Bowes, who left their impressive art collection to the public. Here’s some pictures of the castle by day and by night, and the MoMu crew (the director, conservator and exhibitions manager) arriving at the castle.


The Bowes Museum’s symbol is a swan, which is a great match with the feathers exhibition, so a swan in a cabinet welcomed us at the entrance to the exhibition.


We were also treated to swan meringues with fresh cream. English people really know how to treat the Belgian appetite.


We also felt at home because the first artwork you see in the museum is from the temporary exhibition by renowned British artist Julian Opie, clearly resembles our national symbol.


The reception with speeches was attended by many interesting people.


Then we finally arrived at the entrance to the exhibition, where our beloved chimera dress by Thierry Mugler welcomed us from a rococo cabinet. A little further we saw the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers feather silhouettes by Dries Van Noten loafing about in the Bowes’ collection.


People really loved the white swan section of the exhibition.


I was glad to see a special honorable place reserved for Ann Demeulemeester’s feather pieces and Olivier Theyskens for Rochas feather dress.


The location was very different from the white space at MoMu but it worked so well with the feathers. Visitors seemed keen on discovering more about the pieces. The whole time we were pampered by Joanna Hashagen, curator of the Fashion & Textiles collection, and her team, here you see her with our director Kaat Debo at the dinner party.


But the most special, mesmerizing and spectacular gift she treated us to, was a performance by the silver swan automaton from 1781, the highlight of the permanent Bowes art collection. It’s one of the most hypnotic, uncanny and beautiful things I’ve ever seen in a museum.


This finale was a beautiful apotheosis and Swanlake-worthy goodbye after our short visit. We wish Birds of Paradise @ Bowes Museum a happy life ever after!!

Event, Press&PR

The Big Draw comes to Antwerp!

The Big Draw campaign image

The Big Draw campaign image

After London, New York, Berlin, Barcelona and Ghent, the international drawing festival The Big Draw has finally arrived in Antwerp.

During five days more than 100 drawing-related activities are scheduled throughout Antwerp’s city center and its districts. Antwerp is calling artists, beginner or experienced, and admirers to join one of the many drawing sessions, demonstrations, lectures or expositions.

MoMu is joining the artistic festivities on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of October with Madeleine Coisne, whose collection is displayed in the MoMu gallery. Madeleine challenges you to make a drawing for MoMu.

Het Museum Daagt Je Uit – Modemuseum.

Madeleine’s designs were inspired by the abstract tile patterns on the arches under the train tracks of Antwerp. The challenge for you is to find a building or something in Antwerp that inspires you and draw it on a piece paper! Sketch the pattern that draws your attention the most! The first fifty people who submit their artistic work on Saturday or Sunday in MoMu, will receive a Big Draw sketch book – or another surprise if they are younger than 12 years.

What are you waiting for? Show us your work!

Europeana fashion

Save the date: Europeana Conference on Digital Fashion Futures in February

EFCONF_Save-The_Date Header

The conference Digital Fashion Futures explores the future of digital fashion
initiatives, bringing together a multitude of online fashion platforms and innovative perspectives from the cultural heritage industry.

On the first day, the conference examines ways in which digital content can be worked into a valuable experience for its consumers as well as the evolving role of digital content in business models for fashion. Participants are encouraged to evaluate their own role in the future landscape of fashion.

On the second day, various workshops and debates allow participants to delve deeper into the ideas presented on the first day. Use cases, challenges, best practices and how-to’s offer in-depth insights and practical detail for anyone who wants to be part of the future of fashion online. Topics that will be covered are intellectual property in a digital environment, digital skills required in tomorrow’s fashion world, how to contribute content to Europeana Fashion, and more.

The conference is complemented by a range of off-programme social activities to
let participants connect with each other as well as explore the Belgian fashion and heritage scene. These activities take place on 24, 25 and 26 February. Participants can sign up for these events independently from the conference.

Registration for the conference and social activities is open from the end of November 2014 onwards. To receive a notification when registration opens, please sign up for the Europeana Fashion newsletter. More information via

Europeana Fashion is a network of 22 partners from 12 European countries that represents the leading European institutions and collections in the fashion domain. The network aggregates and provides to Europeana outstanding and rich material about the history of European fashion. By February 2015, Europeana Fashion will have made available online over 700.000 fashion-and costume related items, such as historical dresses, accessories, photographs, posters, drawings, sketches, videos, fashion catalogues, and more. Over 400.000 items are already accessible on and MoMu is one of the founding partners of the Europeana Fashion project as well as a content provider.

Edition, Event

Antwerp Academy Art Book Fair

Antwerp Art Book Fair this Saturday October 18th! Photo: Peleman

Antwerp Art Book Fair this Saturday October 18th! Photo: Peleman

On Saturday 18 October, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is hosting its first international art book fair. In the heart of Antwerp, more than 60 exhibitors from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and France are offering photo books, artist’s books, exhibition catalogues, art magazines, art books and other related printed matter.

MoMu catalogues at the Art Book Fair Saturday October 18th! Photo: Monica Ho

MoMu catalogues at the Art Book Fair Saturday October 18th! Photo: Monica Ho

MoMu will also join the art book fair with tons of catalogues of not only our newest exhibition MoMu Now but also of past exhibitions. Make sure to stop by because our catalogues are looking for a new home!

The Art Book Fair will take place this Saturday October 18th from 10AM until 5PM at Venusstraat 34B, 2000 Antwerp!

(text and photo: Monica Ho)