Five dresses from the MoMu collection you need to see now!
It’s no secret that MoMu has accumulated an immense collection over the last years but not everything has been showcased in our exhibitions. The MoMu collection includes some hidden gems with an interesting backstory.
Long before the Antwerp Six, Ann Salens (1940-1994) was the first avant-garde fashion designer in Antwerp. Salens created in a twilight zone between art and fashion: between the worlds of the luxurious and the flamboyantly bohemian. Entirely in line with the spirit of the times, Salens created crocheted designs famously worn by the singer Ann Christy, among others. This 1970s dress illustrates her characteristic, gradient use of colour. Salens’ work continues to inspire new generations of designers, such as Christian Wijnants, who shares her love for knitwear.
In 1999, Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe launched his collection for women under the label Van Ommeslaeghe. Subsequently, he created a total of four collections. Each of these were characterised by the designer’s signature minimalism and monochromatic shades, as evidenced in this evening dress from his final Spring/Summer 2001 collection. Van Ommeslaeghe masters the bias cut, a technique of cutting on the diagonal grain of the fabric to create a sinuous and slightly clingy silhouette.
The 20th anniversary of the Maison Martin Margiela was celebrated in Martin Margiela’s Spring/Summer 2009 collection. The show reunited highlights from 20 years of creations. This trompe-l’oeil dress is a rectangle of cotton, printed with the depiction of a Maison Martin Margiela blazer. The print is a reference to the 1996 Spring/Summer collection that was composed of garments in fine, flowing fabrics that each depicted the photograph of another garment. The white, black and sepia colour palette of these trompe-l’oeil garments reminds of old photographs and photocopies.
Haider Ackermann lived in various cities throughout Europe and Africa before moving to Antwerp where he studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Upon graduating in 2001, Ackermann founded his namesake label. He is known for his beautifully draped silhouettes, fluid and innovative use of fabrics. This deep blue, floor-length ensemble from Autumn/Winter 2007-2008 features a gathered neckline that cascades into dramatic, sculptural pleats.
In an era of ‘cyberspace’ and adaptation of new technology, the W.&L.T. Welcome Little Stranger collection of Spring/Summer 1997 engaged with this transitional moment in history. Embracing themes such as interactivity, breaking boundaries, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences, Van Beirendonck sent his models out to the streets of Paris for the show, turning the typically exclusive runway event into a public affair. A stand-out in the collection, this cake-like dress is composed of a sculptural, multi-tiered skirt supported by horizontal hoops. It is accessorized with a bulbous red wig adorned with ribbons, braids, and oversized flowers. This silhouette is a testament to Van Beirendonck’s exceptional outlook on the ever-changing world of fashion.