in the Category: art

A collection of stories and thoughts

After three years of renovation works, MoMu reopened its doors in September 2021. Besides the two temporary exhibition spaces, there is now also a third space on the ground floor where MoMu presents its permanent collection. Within Collection presentation - Fashion from the MoMu Collection, the origin and the evolution of Belgian (and international) fashion are presented. Every year the presentation is set to change, giving over 35000 objects their own spotlight. We sent fashion freak (and fan of Belgian fashion) Astrid on a trip to MoMu and gave her a treat for the eyes.

Text by Astrid Stubbe
Photos shot by Jasper Robyn

I have to admit, this was my third time visiting MoMu since its grand reopening. The first time I went was during the opening weekend in September. FOMO and curiosity took over, and I just had to be there. During the opening weekend, there was definitely more to experience than just viewing the exhibits. The building was fully constructed and every room was open for visitors, including the MoMu library. The second time, I went to visit the expo P.LACE.S. And now this is number three, when I had all the time to inspect the permanent collection.

It reminded me of being a kid, visiting an aquarium and wanting to see the little fish hiding in the back up close

When I entered through the sliding doors, I found myself in a dark room. I was immediately faced with mannequins behind glass in front of me. Opposed to the temporary exhibitions in which one can walk between the clothes, it takes some time to adapt to this collection. You can't look closer at the details, and the connection between the garment and yourself stops for a moment. It reminded me of being a kid, visiting an aquarium and wanting to see the little fish hiding in the back up close. However, I do understand why they have chosen to design the space in this way, their collection must be well maintained at all costs. The exhibit is divided into different topics, and in each one, you are transported into the story, a story of fashion and time, through the pieces on display.

When visiting the fashion museum, you will see clothes that you have in your own closet

Starting off, there are some recognizable looks like Raf Simons SS 2019 and Walter Van Beirendonck FW 2016-2017. I instantly identified a Raf Simons t-shirt that I held in my hands a while back during the stock sales in Antwerp and started smiling. Objects in a museum don't have to be unapproachable, nor are they always one of a kind. There is a chance that, when you visit the fashion museum, you will see clothes that you have in your own closet. This can create a socio-economic dialogue from time to time.

Not only are museums and institutions collectors, but there are also a lot of individuals who collect fashion objects. Yes, people like you and me. For example, Myung-Il Song's collection is probably one of the best known - she published the book I'll Wear It Until I'm Dead in 2020, sharing her collection with the public for the first time. Largely, her collection includes objects by Belgian designers such as Dirk Van Saene, Maison Martin Margiela and Bernhard Willhelm. She lists the Antwerp fashion scene as one of the best in the world.
So no, you don't have to look abroad whenever it comes to individuals in the fashion world. Erna Vandekerckhove, the founder of the boutique Labels Inc. in Antwerp, has a lot of Yohji Yamamoto and Martin Margiela in her collection. As a young girl, I looked up to such fascinating people who seemed to eat, drink and breathe fashion. I still do, to be honest.

Each topic was accompanied by QR codes, which allow you to watch short videos of five people involved in the fashion industry discussing the themes in the collection. Each time the same question returns: 'How does this word/theme relate to fashion in your mind?’ This added insight gives food for thought, allowing you to enter into a discussion with yourself or your co-visitors. Fashion is so much more than a product that we put over our bodies for warmth or even societal acceptance. It is a form of identity and a part of our personality. Clothing also carries history and portrays culture. Fashion screams, emotes and makes you think.

MoMu’s collection includes a lot more than just clothes, shoes and accessories

MoMu’s collection includes a lot more than just clothes, shoes and accessories. MoMu added traditional tools for creating clothing such as sewing machines, scissors and needles. The collection also contains photos, videos and other graphic visual material such as invitations and sketches. The concept of a fashion invitation is one of the things that fascinates me the most. It forms the identity of the collection, like a movie trailer that unveils a lot without spoilers. I hope MoMu will make an expo about that one day.

A few days later I was back in Antwerp and decided to get the MoMu Collection book. I have a weakness for spending my money on coffee table books to add to my own humble collection. But that's a whole different collection…

E/MOTION + P.LACE.S runs until 23 January at MoMu in Antwerp
Enjoy this exhibition for free with your Subbacultcha membership!
@astrid.stubbe
@jasperrobyn_