And the MoMu Award Goes to... Laura Meier Hagested
Every year, MoMu awards a recent graduate of the Antwerp Fashion Department whose work stands out for its graphic quality. This year, the MoMu Award goes to Laura Meier Hagested for her collection '(Please) Lose Yourself In Me', after the song of the same name by My Bloody Valentine.
Why did you name your graduation collection after that song?
LAURA MEIER HAGESTED: "Mainly because it's one of my favourite songs. (laughs) But also because the title refers to the story I want to tell with the clothes. My garments can change the wearer's personal vision and challenge our stereotypical view of women's fashion. The collection is all about femininity and explores how we show and hide the female body. That’s why I created sculptural and transparent box-shapes that cover and disrupt the shape of the body, but also frame and show it."
How did you come up with that idea?
LMH: "For this collection, I combined the character I wanted to dress with elements from my own wardrobe and visual references, and the stories behind them. I used a lot of inspiration images of dolls, because they are feminine and cute, but look completely dead and scary at the same time. (laughs)"
"But I am also inspired by art. For instance, the idea for the box shapes came from the Canadian artist Liz Magor, who works mostly with found objects. In one of her installations, she presented her works in transparent boxes. The idea that the objects become something new in combination with these boxes really appealed to me. In my own collection, I tried to play with how the fabrics and colours of the dresses change when combined with these transparent box-shapes."
How did you translate that inspiration into wearable garments?
LMH: "The process from design sketches to finished garments was not linear, but more of an exploration. I had to figure out how to trap dresses and skirts in transparent boxes. In the end, I didn’t sketch much and mostly worked on finding ways to apply that 3D aspect to my garments. Luckily, making things with my hands and seeing them appear is what I appreciate most in the design process."
"I used different coloured layers in transparent materials like tulle. I added lines with ribbons and lace, because I wanted to play with the method of drawing in the ways I used the textiles. These visual graphics are very similar to drawings or collages. Because I also wanted to talk about the fact that women can wear whatever they want, I contrasted the fragile materials with elements from menswear and suiting."
"Then I made these very high hats, which were a point of discussion. Do they look good or ugly? (laughs) I quite like to challenge that balance a little bit by presenting something that might be a bit ugly, because I am interested in widening our perspective on what people can wear."
Your work is now on display at MoMu. What does that mean for you?
LMH: "It means a lot to me and I’m very excited. Also, I’m very happy that the people of the museum see the strength in what I do with my own hands, such as the graphics and the ways I drew on the pictures and the collages of my collection."
What else do you hope visitors will get out of your work?
LMH: "Maybe they will see the female character I present as something they might not know yet. And maybe they will think about the fact that fashion doesn't have to be a dress and high heels, but can also be funny, clumsy or even ugly."
What are your plans now that you have graduated?
LMH: "At the moment, I am still thinking about my next steps. Since I am interested in the connection between fashion and art, I will stay in Antwerp for a while to see what I can do in that area. Hopefully I'll find my own way of doing things that way."