MoMu Now: Contemporary Fashion from the MoMu Collection

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Jil Sander by Raf Simons A/W 2009-2010
Jil Sander by Raf Simons A/W 2009-2010Photography by Willy Vanderperre

We take a look some pieces of contemporary fashion from the collection of MoMu, Antwerp

Not too long ago, museum exhibitions were all about delving into the past. Now, to be only concerned with history would be shortsighted for any institution with the aim to preserve artifacts of culture. MoMu, the fashion museum in Antwerp, has for some time practiced a policy of purchasing pieces from the current collections of designers, focusing especially on those who are considered Belgian. Karen Van Godtsenhoven, the museum’s curator, explains, “Since 2011, we’ve bought a Peter Pilotto piece at least once a year. They’re not solely Belgian but position themselves internationally.”

The exhibition functions as a pattern card of Belgian fashion and features pieces from the usual suspects, such as Maison Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck. But more recent generations also take pride of place. The opening theme is an ode to Olivier Theyskens – a “big talent” and personal favourite of Van Godtsenshoven because of his adept use of couture techniques. There are plenty of silhouettes from Raf Simons’ eponymous line on show, of which his Sterling Ruby collaboration will no doubt draw quite some attention. A video made by the up-and-coming visual artist Frederik Heyman is projected in the space – a slowly rotating line-up of the MoMu’s impressive contemporary collection. Here, Van Godtsenshoven gives an exclusive preview of five of the exhbition's key looks.

Dior by Raf Simons, S/S 2013: Floral Ball Gown
“This is the first piece we’ve purchased from Dior. It’s from Raf’s second collection for Dior. In this ball gown the codes of the house of Dior are very present in the balloon skirt and the roses – but it’s also very Raf because of the techno-effect of the organza that’s been layered on top of the silk.”

Haider Ackermann, A/W 2011-12: Leather Jacket Draped on Top of a Purple Skirt
“As one of the big names, Haider is a scion of the third generation, that comprises also Bruno Pieters, for example. Each season we buy two of his silhouettes. He’s very interesting because of his  techniques, how he uses material – the cut and draping of it.”

Jurgi Persoons, A/W 2000-01: Red Dress
“A personal favourite of mine. Jurgi was a very well known cult designer here in Antwerp during the Nineties. Time has shown how his work has retained its value over the years. It doesn’t age. This piece is a deconstructed dress with frayed seams, but it’s made in a haute-couture way, with a lot of meticulous handwork and precious fabrics.”

Peter Pilotto, A/W 2012-13: Printed Dress
“One of the new names on the scene, who’ve established an international reputation. Their style is very distinct, not only because of their use of innovative fabrics and techniques but we particularly appreciate how the graphic effect of this piece is not just dependent on the digital print but also on its beautiful cut.”

Pierre Renaux, Graduation Collection 2013 - Antwerp Fashion Department: 3D Printed Shoe
“It’s unusual for us to purchase a piece from a designer who’s fresh out of school, but we found this shoe to be exceptional. At the Antwerp Academy, students are not necessarily taught to experiment with new techniques and materials, but they do explore these things on their own. For his graduation collection, Pierre created this 3D printed shoe in polyamide."

MoMu Now opens on September 25 and runs until January 5, 2015