Dressed. 7 Women – 200 Years of Fashion
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg
February 25 – August 28, 2022
Our wardrobe is among our most personal possessions. Nothing is closer to our bodies. Alongside its purely practical function, clothing is also a nuanced means of communication and self-expression. The exhibition DRESSED. 7 WOMEN – 200 YEARS OF FASHION presents seven fashion- conscious women and their wardrobes, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present day. The spotlight is on the personalities and biographies of the wearers, who reveal themselves to be both performers and consumers of fashion.
Whether haute couture, daywear, protest gear or avant-garde trends – what they choose to wear is every bit as diverse as their lifestyles. Their wardrobes tell of the status-consciousness of high- society wives, of an existence marked by illness, of “power dressing” for projecting confidence in the executive suite, of Hamburg’s punk scene, and of the aesthetics of resistive aesthetics embraced by an art and design collector.
Rather than basing the selection on status or celebrity, the protagonists cover the greatest possible variety of women’s lifestyles and their expression through fashion. Around 150 garments and accessories from the Fashion and Textiles Collection at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) illuminate seven different walks of life and 200 years of fashion, women’s liberation and contemporary history.
The fashion items were produced by famous designers, couturiers/couturières and fashion ateliers such as Maison Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Martin Margiela as well as by anonymous tailors and seamstresses. They are supplemented by biographical testimonies, photographs and documents.
Senator Dr Carsten Brosda says of the exhibition: “The history of clothing is the history of man. The history of fashion is the history of our social self- image. “Dressed” tells both the story of individual lives and the spirit of the times. The exhibition traces our understanding of aesthetics, the relationship between no-go’s and avant-garde, do’s and don’ts and as a whole is a symbol of possibilities. With the exhibition “Dressed”, the MK&G once again sensitises us to the social value of clothing in a time of material hyperconsumption.”
“The idea of approaching not only fashion history but also the former wearers through the seven wardrobes on display immediately excited me”, remarks Tulga Beyerle,director of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. “The narrative also goes beyond that and deals with a topic that is still relevant today: the changing role of women in society“.