What would a museum about fashion in the Netherlands look like? From 13 September 2015 until 8 May 2016 Het Nieuwe Instituut will be transformed into a Temporary Fashion Museum, exploring the phenomenon of fashion in all its surprising forms with an extensive programme of exhibitions, installations, performances and events.
Many Dutch museums include fashion within their collections but there has never been a national fashion museum. Over a period of eight months Het Nieuwe Instituut will explore the possibilities of such an institution by transforming itself into a fashion museum. The entire building will be utilised for this temporary experiment.
Innovation in fashion contrasts starkly with other disciplines in which innovation is viewed as synonymous with technological progress. Fashion has found its own model of renewal by using the past as an endless source of inspiration for the future. Reason enough to allow the past, present and future to be interwoven in the Temporary Fashion Museum. In contrast to the conventional model of a museum, which conserves objects and thus freezes time, the Temporary Fashion Museum will approach time as fashion does: as a fluid and flowing phenomenon and a source for speculation.
What is the current state of fashion? What issues preoccupy designers right now? How do they speculate about the future? Which issues determine current developments in fashion? In addition to exploring the fashion design and production process the Temporary Fashion Museum will also examine the role of the user. It will give visitors an opportunity to engage with fashion in different ways: from debating about and reflecting upon on essential issues to trying on and buying clothes.
Het Nieuwe Instituut’s freely accessible entrance area will have the allure of a seductive perfume department in a luxury emporium. This will be a showcase for the latest trends. Penny Martin and Jop van Bennekom (editor of renowned fashion magazines The Gentlewoman and Fantastic Man) present their ultimate selection from the thousands of garments that make up the autumn-winter 2015 collections. The selection will change in the beginning of 2016 with the start of the new fashion season. A monthly changing expo-in-expo, installed by leading stylists, designers and fashion photographers, will highlight the constantly shifting nature of fashion. A series of spaces will focus on the fashion consumer, including a fabric shop with quality textiles, a fitting room for high-heel shoes from sizes 28 to 48, and even a cloakroom where visitors will have their jackets ritually removed. Visitors will also be able to touch and examine clothes and in some cases try them on and buy them.
Reality and alternatives
The Temporary Fashion Museum will also explore the occasionally shocking reality of the fashion system. The negative social and ecological impact of clothing production is the starting point for an examination of the usually unseen darker side of fashion. Fashion designers Alexander van Slobbe and Francisco van Benthum respond to this theme with their project HACKED, in which they use the existing production chain of the fast-fashion industry to create new opportunities for designers and consumers alike. Under the name Van Slobbe Van Benthum they set to work on the remnants and overproduction of this sector. They will present the findings of their research in an extensive display with critical commentary.
The notion of time and history as fluid will play a central role in the Temporary Fashion Museum. It will present a purely speculative history of 65 years of Dutch fashion, curated by Guus Beumer and fashion journalist Georgette Koning. From how our collective love of the bicycle has influenced the silhouette of womenswear to how the Provo movement introduced white into the fashion palette. Marjo Kranenborg presents a hall of fame of timeless fashion icons as red lipstick, the white shirt and the trench coat. Surprising archives give an insight into fashion’s malleable memory. Ranging from the highly personal in the form of the haute couture outfits of Swiss collector Eva Maria Hatschek, to the collective in the form of the ultimate vintage store with unrivalled pieces from (Dutch) fashion history assembled by Ferry van der Nat.
To curate and realise the Temporary Fashion Museum, artistic director Guus Beumer has called upon his personal network of people who since the early 1990s have played a crucial role in attracting international attention for Dutch fashion, including fashion designers Francisco van Benthum and Alexander van Slobbe, art director Jop van Bennekom, fashion theorist José Teunissen, architect Herman Verkerk, journalist Georgette Koning, stylist Marjo Kranenborg and artist and designer Pascale Gatzen. This network is augmented by dozens of designers, stylists, journalists, photographers and theorists.