“I am black velvet, black chiffon and sophisticated”. These were the words of the fashion designer Erik Mortensen in an interview in the Politiken newspaper in 1994: the same year as his very last fashion show. This summer, Designmuseum Danmark will open a major special exhibition, presenting about 70 creations from the fashion designer’s Golden Age: 1982-1995. The exhibition will also feature a selection of Erik Mortensen’s fashion sketches.
Erik Mortensen is the nearest Denmark has ever come to the Paris fashion world. At the tender age of 16, he moved from North Jutland to Copenhagen, where he became an apprentice to one of the most highly acclaimed fashion designers of the day, Holger Blom. At the age of 22, he continued his journey to Paris with the clear-cut intention of working for Pierre Balmain’s fashion house. His dream came true and an haute couture fairytale began in 1947 when the young Erik Mortensen became an apprentice of Pierre Balmain. In 1951 he became Balmain’s first assistant and in 1982, after Balmain’s death, he took over the position of head designer.
In the future, Designmuseum Danmark intends to focus on craftsmanship. Craftsmanship is also a theme that permeates this exhibition of Erik Mortensen’s haute couture. The exhibition also portrays a very special chapter in the history of Danish fashion and a talent that has been hugely significant for later generations of fashion designers.
The curator of the exhibition, Designmuseum Danmark’s Kirsten Toftegaard, says: “The aim of the exhibition is to provide a close-up view of his craftsmanship and to highlight the special qualities of haute couture. Of course, the exhibition is also a tribute to Erik Mortensen, his talent and the elegance he brought to fashion. Erik Mortensen’s design from the 1980s represents an elegant, understated picture of the power woman of the time with her accentuated shoulders, shorts for both everyday wear and special occasions and (after all, it is haute couture) an excessive use of fabrics – stunning silk, velvet and chiffon, and embroidery on huge ball gowns. While his design could occasionally be challenging, it was never vulgar”.
Black and sophisticated
Erik Mortensen’s countless collections are the best evidence of his sophisticated, yet passionate approach to design. During his time as head designer at Pierre Balmain, not only did Erik Mortensen win great acclaim amongst his clients; he was also highly respected by his colleagues in the industry. On three occasions he was awarded.
The exhibition is based on a number of themes, which reveal Erik Mortensen’s unique talent as a designer: for example, the Balmain legacy; Mortensen’s design process; the celebration of materials and his superb craftsmanship; his fascination with the colour black; and how he played with transparent fabrics and naked skin. In addition, areas of the exhibition will be devoted to the presentation of fashion shows and the tale of his private clients, in which celebrities and royals are major protagonists.
More Info: http://designmuseum.dk