Selection I: Backstage

MoMu starts off with the first exhibition on the 21st of September 2002. As the title indicates, this exhibition focuses on a first selection from the collection. This opens the door to a series of further selections in the future, whether linked to specific themes or not.

Visitor information

  • Location

    MoMu - ModeMuseum Antwerpen

Description of the exhibition

"Selection I: Backstage" has been conceived as a sample of the MoMu Collection, whereby the public is introduced to the various collections and archival pieces within a scenography created by Bob Verhelst.

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The conceptual starting point of the exhibition is the notion of 'storage'. The storage or repository of the museum is where collection pieces, individually packed in acid-free paper, are stored in climatically optimal conditions, far removed from the damaging effects of light, dust, and dampness. Initially, the costumes were hung in cardboard boxes, but since June 2002, the MoMu storage has been equipped with a modern wardrobe system, so that these boxes are now a thing of the past.

The storage, which reaches from the ground floor to the sixth floor, is the architectural backbone of the museum. But symbolically, too, it serves a special purpose.

Here, the collection pieces are stored side by side, without distinction. They are, as it were, knocked off their pedestal and deprived of the attention they receive during exhibitions. It is a place that seems to allow a moment's objective reflection, where the pieces can be examined in peace and quiet. But above all it is a place where you might be surprised, where an exquisite item might appear out of an unsightly box. It is this feeling and this atmosphere that we want to recreate in 'Selection 1'.

A museum is a place for contemplation, reflection, study and repose, a place where looking is more important than listening, reading or talking. MoMu is no exception. When we look at clothing and textiles a story emerges of cultural identity, time and our origins, human behaviour and customs, and the spirit of an age. Looking should lead to study and dialogue.

Linda Loppa, former director of MoMu


Scenography sketches Bob Verhelst
MoMu Antwerp, design Bob Verhelst

The scenography by Bob Verhelst is characterized by a visually strong course in which a great deal of freedom is left to the viewer. The pieces are, if possible, not placed behind glass cabinets in order to increase the physical presence of the pieces and reduce the psychological distance from the viewer.


This catalog is a richly illustrated book that explains the intent of the Museum.

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This publication sets the outlines of the museum and our vision on fashion.

Kaat Debo, curator

Title | Het ModeMuseum = The Fashion Museum: backstage
Published | Gent, Ludion, 2002
Authors | Kaat Debo, Bob Verhelst, Linda Loppa, Frieda Sorber, Hussein Chalayan ea
Graphic Design | Paul Boudens
ISBN | 9055444235

Exhibition under the lead of
Curator: Bob Verhelst | Scenografie: Bob Verhelst