Antwerp, Flanders’ fashion capital, welcomes the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga.
With the recent terrible events in Brussels dominating the news, the opening of a new exhibition in Belgium’s second city has been somewhat overshadowed. However if you were thinking about a city break to Belgium yet preferred a destination outside of the capital, why not consider the Flemish city of Antwerp?
Described by Lonely Planet as “Belgium’s Capital of Cool”, Antwerp has for centuries held an attraction for those with a creative flair. Indeed, the city is lauded as the fashion capital of Belgium and if you’re up for a spot of sartorial swagger, head over to the Mode Museum, known colloquially as ‘MoMu‘. The collection consists of some 25,000 items of clothing and accessories and whilst there is no permanent exhibit, particular elements of the museum’s portfolio are showcased according to a particular designer or fashion-related theme, complemented further by pieces on loan from museums and fashion institutes around the world.
Indeed, just opened at the MoMu is a new exhibition entitled ‘Game Changers – Reinventing the 20th-century silhouette’, in which the ground-breaking work of Spanish fashion designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga, is brought to the fore. The exhibition centres itself around the concept of the silhouette, exploring how designers such as Balenciaga created in the mid-20th century a radically new shape in which the body was allowed freedom of movement, providing a welcome alternative for the previously popular, and somewhat constrictive, hour-glass contours.
The exhibition starts at the beginning of the 20th century, when influences such as the Japanese kimono and designers including Coco Chanel liberated women from their tight corsets and produced more modern ideas that celebrated the concept of femininity in fashion. It also explores the end of the 20th century when designers such as Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto paved the way for new body shapes and a new interpretation on what could be considered as fashion. And, in between, comes the innovative work of Balenciaga, seen as the pivotal linchpin between the two periods.
The exhibition brings together around 100 unique couture and ready-to-wear examples on display by the aforementioned designers, amongst others, on loan from many of the major fashion institues across the globe including Paris’ Palais Galliera, New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, London’s V&A and MUDE in Lisbon.
The exhibition runs through the spring and early summer until the 14th of August and is open daily (except Mondays) from 10am until 6pm. Entrance costs 8€ (concessions 6€).
“Haute Couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is Balenciaga. We other couturiers are musicians and we follow the direction he gives.” Christian Dior