UNIQLO MoMu Sundays


MoMu is collaborating with Japanese clothing retailer UNIQLO! From now on, the Japanese clothing retailer UNIQLO provides free entrance to all the visitors to the Game Changers exhibition every first Sunday. The UNIQLO MoMu Sundays take place on the shopping Sundays and start from the first of May 2016. Inspired by the ‘Free Friday Night’ collaboration between UNIQLO and MoMa in New York, it was a logical choice for MoMu to collaborate with the Japanese retailer.

Kaat Debo, director MoMu: “We are very proud to be the first museum in the BeNeLux to collaborate with UNIQLO. With the UNIQLO MoMu Sundays we hope to be able to introduce our exhibitions to more people.”

Every visitor will receive a free AIRism t-shirt when showing the MoMu entrance ticket within a week at the counter of the UNIQLO stores in Antwerp and Wijnegem. Practical: the UNIQLO MoMu Sundays take place on the shopping Sundays on 01/05, 05/06, 03/07, 07/08.


Game-Changing Moments, Paco Rabanne’s 1966 Manifesto collection

Photo: MoMu / Stany Dederen

Photo: MoMu / Stany Dederen

“I have always had the impression of being a time accelerator. Of going as far as is reasonable for one’s time and not indulge in the morbid pleasure of the known things, which I view as decay. I talk of mutation, of the unquenchable thirst for novelty, and of permanent rupture. To be fixed in a concept is to become a living corpse.” Lydia Kamitsis, “Entretenien avec Paco Rabanne”, in Paco Rabanne [Exhibition Catalogue].

Paco Rabanne’s words reflect his iconoclastic approach to fashion, marking his work from the beginning to the end of his career. His commitment to questioning established ideas about dress, his experimentation with unconventional materials, and his architectural vision were at the heart of some of the most iconic designs of the 20th century.

Rabanne’s characteristic resilience and combative temperament were forged very early in his life. After fleeing the Spanish civil war, the young Paco moved to Paris in 1952, where he initiated his studies in Architecture. For over ten years he combined his studies with his accessory design for reputed houses such as Balenciaga, Courrèges, Pierre Cardin and Givenchy. Rabanne’s mother had worked for Cristóbal Balenciaga as a head seamstress in his San Sebastian atelier before the war forced them both to leave. However, it was Paco’s determination and use of materials that encouraged Balenciaga to incorporate Rabanne’s designs into his couture creations of the late 50s and early 60s. Years later Paco Rabanne would repeatedly acknowledge his admiration and creative debt to Balenciaga’s pure and architectural vision, considering himself “one of his disciples” and “a member of his school, a school of rigour and exactitude”.

On February 1st 1966, Paco Rabanne presented at the Hôtel George V his first Manifesto Collection, “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials”, in which twelve barefoot models paraded clad in scandalous outfits, made entirely of rhodoïd sequins and plaques linked together with metallic rings. The choice of such an ignoble and inappropriate material as rhodoïd, was in line with the Dada and Panique movements, favoured by Rabanne in his early years. His penchant for the uncommon grew more radical in successive collections, especially from 1968 onwards, with his use of metal, the material of discomfort par excellence. His metallic dresses were viewed by many as being incompatible with the search for freedom of movement that characterized most designers of the time. Paco Rabanne explained himself.

Quidam de Revel is a Paris vintage fashion dealer, owned by Emmanuelle Chesnel and Philippe Harros,  catering to haute couture fans, museums and vintage lovers since more than 20 years: they lent the iconic Paco Rabanne metal dress to MoMu for the Game Changers exhibition. They acquired the dress over seven years ago by a German owner who got it from his mom. It looks very much like the model worn by Donyale Luna photographed by Avedon in December 1966:

Donyale Luna wearing Paco Rabanne. 1966. Photo by Richard Avedon

Donyale Luna wearing Paco Rabanne. 1966. Photo by Richard Avedon

Rabanne opened the window and showed what fashion could be in the future, he has shown audacity and  a revolutionary spirit,” says Emmanuelle Chesnel.

Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette until 14th August at MoMu Antwerp

Event, Exhibition

MoMu Sessions 11|05|2016


As a little something extra to the Game Changers expo, MoMu will be organizing MoMu Sessions on the 11th May! We have invited a panel of speakers ready to tell you more about the game-changing phenomenon in fashion. Sushi and drinks will be provided to close everything off in style! Excited yet? Head over to our website to sign up for the event!


12.30pm – 1pm: Arrival Fomu
1pm – 1.30pm: Welcoming by Kaat Debo (MoMu)
1.30pm – 2.15pm: Lecture Akiko Fukai, ‘The Discovery of Abstraction in 20th-century Fashion’
2.15pm – 2.50pm Lecture Miren Arzalluz, ‘Cristóbal Balenciaga: Iconoclastic Visions of the Silhouette’
2.50pm – 3.15pm: Lecture Karen Van Godtsenhoven, ‘Body Meets Dress: A New Relationship between Garment and Body for the 21st Century’
3.15pm – 3.45pm: Break
3.45pm – 4.15pm: Lecture Hettie Judah, ‘1980s Fashion and the Feminist Sex Wars’
4.15pm – 5pm: Panel discussion. Moderator: Hettie Judah. Participants Akiko Fukai, Miren Arzalluz, Karen Van Godtsenhoven and Anabela Becho
5pm – 6pm: Transfer Fomu to MoMu
6pm – 7pm: Nocturne Game Changers at MoMu (free guided tour included)
7pm – 8pm: Drinks and sushi at MoMu

Collection, Exhibition

Installing Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection


On Wednesday 20th April, MoMu will open its newest exhibition in the gallery of the museum: Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection! Itchiku Kubota was an innovative Japanese textile artist who was anything but traditional. His spectacular creations gave new meaning to the art of kimono. His understanding of both the Japanese and the Western art forms is the secret to his amazing work. By incorporating modern textiles and dyeing techniques into traditional modes of production, he created a series of stunning kimonos that were not only wearable but also one by one pieces of art.


MoMu will showcase six kimonos of the Symphony of Light series that represents the four seasons. The kimonos are linked compositionally, with the design flowing from one garment to the next. The kimonos arrived in wooden boxes. By wrapping the kimonos in special fabric (a technique that is also used in Japan to store kimonos), the kimonos are securely protected.


’3D effect’ on the kimono

While it may look like your ordinary stunning kimono, Kubota managed to take it a step further by adding textures and colors to the kimonos by using different techniques, making it really come to life. To create these astonishing textures, large parts of the kimono are outlined with vinyl thread and pulled tightly together to create puff areas. These areas are then covered with plastic sheets and tightened with more vinyl thread. After dyeing, steaming and rinsing the kimono, the threads are then removed. This process may be repeated numerous times until the desired effect is given. Colors are added in the initial stages by immersing the fabric in a dye bath for the ground color. Other colors are then brushed on the kimono.


Breathtaking textures


Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection on display at MoMu Gallery from 20/04/2016 until 19/06/2016

Event, Exhibition, Press&PR

Heritage Day: Rituals, Traditions & Dreams at MoMu


Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Dennis Ravays

It’s that time of the year again where we celebrate cultural heritage during Heritage Day on Sunday, 24 April! This year it is all about rituals! MoMu will be organizing some great activities for you and your family & friends to enjoy!

First of all, visitors can visit our newest exhibition ‘Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette’ for free! The exhibition  unites 100 unique couture and ready-to-wear silhouets by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Gabrielle Chanel, but also Issey Miyake, Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Maison Martin Margiela…

Itchiku Kubota, Symphony of Light, (c) The Kubota Collection

Itchiku Kubota, Symphony of Light, (c) The Kubota Collection

Second, you can catch a glimpse of the unique kimonos by the Japanese textile artist Itchiku Kubota in our MoMu Gallery! The exhibition Traditions & Dreams. Kimonos from the Kubota Collection in the gallery of MoMu will shows six kimono’s of his unfinished Symphony of Light series and two kimono’s from the Mount Fuji series, which will all be the on view for the very first time in Belgium. This exhibition is organized on the occasion of the festivities of 150 years diplomatic relations between Belgium and Japan and with the support of Port of Antwerp.

Third, our MoMu conservator Frieda Sorber will be giving a lecture on Japanese kimonos. The lecture will be in dutch. Places are very limited so head over to our webshop to buy the tickets!

Last but not least, MoMu offers you the chance to witness a traditional tea ceremony! Inspired by our kimono exhibition and the main theme of Heritage Day, rituals, MoMu has invited a tea master to show you the centuries-old traditions of making tea!


  • Visit Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette for free, 10am - 6pm.
  • Visit Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection, MoMu Gallery for free, 10am – 6pm
  • Lecture Frieda Sorber, conservator MoMu: “The phenomenon kimono in Japanese culture, past and present”, MoMu Library, at 2pm, participation: €5, registration required info@momu.be. The lecture will be in Dutch.
  • Japanese tea ceremony, MoMu entrance hall at 10am, 11:15am, 2pm and 3:15pm.  Free Japanese tea tasting, continuously from 10am till 18pm.

Hope to you see all celebrating cultural heritage with us at MoMu!


Exhibition, Uncategorized

MoMu Gallery. Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection 20|04|16>19|06|16


On 20th April, MoMu will open a new exhibition in the MoMu Gallery!

On the occasion of the festivities of 150 years diplomatic relations between Belgian and Japan and with the support of Port of Antwerp, MoMu presents Traditions & Dreams. Kimono from the Kubota Collection! The exhibition in the gallery of MoMu will show a series of kimonos by renowned Japanese textile artist Itchiku Kubota.  Six of them are from his unfinished Symphony of Light series and two kimonos from the Mount Fuji series, which will all be the on view for the very first time in Belgium.


Conceived when the artist was in his seventies, Symphony of Light was only partly done when Kubota died. The kimonos are a powerful statement of concepts developed and refined over many years. Like all the great textiles of the world they suck the viewer from a powerful image into the intricacies of tiny embroidered, painted and tie-dyed elements breathing life into the varied textures of the woven silk cloth.

The entrance to the MoMu Gallery is free!


Working with the MoMu/UA Study Collection: Materials and Technology Analyses

Skirt (19th century, China). Inventory number: 81073 A/B. Materials and techniques: Cotton; Silk; Glass; Paper; Metal; Metal thread; Sequins; Beads

Skirt (19th century, China). Inventory number: 81073 A/B. Materials and techniques: Cotton; Silk; Glass; Paper; Metal; Metal thread; Sequins; Beads

This skirt was such a grateful object to do research on because of the story it tells about the rich culture and refined traditions in China during the Qing-Dynasty. Next to conservation treatment, a complete study was performed on the iconography of the embroidery and the materials and techniques that were used. This was done through literature research, analyses by microscope and X-ray fluorescence. The iconography of the embroidery (butterflies and flowers) indicate that the skirt was worn by a woman: the butterfly is a woman’s symbol, which stands for elegance and immortality, while flowers are a symbol of fertility. Blue is the colour of immortality, healing, relaxation, trust, ect. And red is the colour for happiness. These two colours indicate that the skirt might have been worn on the owners’ wedding day.

Words by Bernice Brigou and Natalie Ortega, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, research group Heritage & Sustainability. Project supported by the Flemish Government.


Martin Margiela: Silhouette Transformations

Photo: Stany Dederen

Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Stany Dederen

The influence of Martin Margiela on today’s fashion world cannot be underestimated: his challenge to the status quo of the fashion system, the status of the designer, model and the concept of the garment itself have changed the industry forever, and the consequences are still widely felt today. By looking at the designer through these narratives, one nearly overlooks his multiple silhouette innovations which changed the face of 1990s fashion and created a new concept of the garment in relationship with the body. To revive your memory, here’s a sampler of Margiela’s most game-changing silhouette transformations:

1. The Shoulder

When Margiela arrived on the scene in 1989, his introduction of a narrow-shouldered silhouette, in direct contrast with the hard-bodied, broad-shouldered women of the 1980s, set the tone for the new decade. The shoulderline was slim, and female and male shoulders were sometimes placed over each other in one garment. The focus on the shoulder instead of the waist as a structuring principle is an Eastern design concept which permeates Margiela’s career: much like in the work of Cristobal Balenciaga, the shoulder is the focal point for the silhouette. His narrow shoulderline from 89 morphed into many different shapes over the years, ending with the conical shoulder of his last collections.

Shoulder sketches by Martin Margiela

Shoulder sketches by Martin Margiela


2. Flat Garments

In Spring-summer 1998 and Autumn-Winter 1998-99, the Maison Martin Margiela collections had subthemes with two-dimensional ‘flat’ garments, which were totally flat when not worn, Reminiscent of Japanese origami principles, whereby the flat piece of paper is folded into a 3D object. The garments had displaced sleeves and necklines tilted to the front and were inspired by the shapes of plastic grocery bags. The eerie silhouettes included The ‘Flat’ collection was shown as a video presentation, sharing its location with the Comme des Garçons show of SS 1998.

Preparation booklets with images made by Martin Margiela for the video shown at the spring/summer 1998 collection presentation. Photo: Monica Ho

Preparation booklets with images made by Martin Margiela for the video shown at the spring/summer 1998 collection presentation. Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Monica Ho

Photo: Stany Dederen

Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Stany Dederen


3. The woman as living doll

In Summer 1997, the same season as Comme des Garçons’ Body meets Dress collection, Maison Martin Margiela dressed the female body in a Stockmann tailoring dummy, thereby also deconstructing the idea of the ‘ideal female body’ or a standardized body type. By dressing the living body in an inanimate dummy, the shrill contrast between the fetishized female shape and the real body beneath shows how alien this standardized shape is from reality. Like the shoulder motif, the motif of the doll as an idealized version of woman, is a recurring theme in Margiela’s work, which he deconstructs in different ways.

MMM SS 1997-1998. Photo: Stany Dedere,

MMM SS 1997-1998. Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Stany Dederen

You could see it as an answer to the surrealist tradition of fetishized female body parts, but from a more woman-friendly perspective. Similarly, his oversized collection (Italian size 78) from Autumn-winter 2000-01, in which found garments are blown up to a size 78, is a one-size fits all collection to be worn by all kinds of bodies and sizes, since size 78 fits no one and thereby, everyone.

MMM 2000 - 2001. Photo: Marina Faust

MMM 2000 – 2001. Photo: Marina Faust

Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette now on display at MoMu Antwerp!

Words by curator Karen Van Godtsenhoven


Book: Fashion Game Changers


Fashion Game Changers traces radical innovations in Western fashion design from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Challenging the traditional silhouettes of their day, fashion designers such as Madeleine Vionnet and Cristóbal Balenciaga began to liberate the female body from the close-fitting hourglass forms which dominated European and American fashion, instead enveloping bodies in more autonomous garments which often took inspiration from beyond the West. As the century progressed, new generations of avant-garde designers from Rei Kawakubo to Martin Margiela further developed the ideas instigated by their predecessors to defy established notions of femininity in dress, creating space between body and garment. This way, a new relationship between body and dress emerged for the 21st century.

With over 200 images and commentaries from an international range of leading fashion curators and historians, this beautifully illustrated book showcases some of the most revolutionary silhouettes and innovative designs of over 100 years of fashion. The catalogue is published by Bloomsbury and sold in MoMu at Copyright Bookshop.

Event, Exhibition

Game Changers: The Blogger Event!

Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Maya Bogaert

Photo: MoMu Antwerp / Maya Bogaert

MoMu invited bloggers to come and enjoy an exclusive guided tour of its newest expo ‘Game Changers. Reinventing the 20th Century Silhouette’! Special thanks to Shu Uemura, Bionina, Cointreau Fizz Cocktail, Fujifilm and Unlimited Ears for making this all happen! Photos of the event are all on our facebook page!