[From Coute Que Coute]
Throughout Western history, at different times and for widely diverse reasons, fashion and costume have turned to black. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Antwerp became one of Europe’s most important centres for dyeing fabrics black. As a result, the city has an historic connection to the colour. During that period, the aristocracy and wealthy citizens often had their portraits painted dressed in black, following the fickle and ever-fluctuating dictate of fashion as determined by the prominent royal court of the moment. For a long time, deep, richly dyed black fabrics were a luxury. Only in the second half of the 19th century would new dyeing methods make the colour accessible to a wider public, whereupon black could be found in almost every wardrobe, more so because it could now be worn by anyone in mourning.
A new highlight for black was its major role in the emancipation reform dress of the early 20th century, and a little later, in the modernity of the 1920s, reaching its apex in Chanel’s ›Little Black Dress‹, the paragon of modern elegance. Black continued to be a presence in the fashion image and took on a variety of new interpretations, such as those of the existentialists and beatniks of the 1950s and diverse subcultures from the 1960s and 1970s. Although the 1980s were known for their colourful style, a new avant-garde of Japanese designers, including Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) and Yohji Yamamoto formed a counterweight with their striking use of black. Momu’s latest exhibition illustrates the historic phases of the colour black, with examples from painting, historic costume and contemporary fashion. It also looks more deeply into the textures and the potentials of black in diverse materials, including fur, leather and lace. In addition, the exhibition includes masterpieces by contemporary designers who, like the city of Antwerp, have a special connection to black. Silhouettes by Belgian designers such as Ann Demeulemeester, Olivier TheyskensDirk Van Saene, as well as the international couture houses of Givenchy (Riccardo Tisci), Chanel, Gareth Pugh and more, make this exhibition an intriguing experience worthy of its name: »Masters of Black in Fashion and Costume«.
The exhibition »BLACK – Masters of Black in Fashion and Costume« will be opened until August 8th, 2010!
MoMu – ModeMuseum Province of Antwerp
Nationalestraat 28, B-2000 Antwerp and