What would a museum about fashion in the Netherlands look like? Until 8th May 2016 you can still enjoy Het Nieuwe Instituut 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 that is going on from last 13rd September 2015. You are still on time to visit Rotterdam to have an unforgettable experience.
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 explores the possibilities of such an institution by transforming itself into a fashion museum. The entire building is being utilised for this temporary experiment.
Masterminding the creation of the Temporary Fashion Museum is artistic leader Guus Beumer. A social scientist by profession, Beumer has been director of Het Nieuwe Instituut since January 2013. In the 1980s he was a journalist for, among others, Avenue, Marie-Claire and HP-De Tijd magazines, and in the 1990s he was art director of the fashion labels orson + bodil and SO. From 2005 on he was head of Marres: House for Contemporary Culture and Bureau Europa/NAiM, both located in Maastricht.
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 is coming 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 also examines the role of the user. It gives 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 has the allure of a seductive perfume department in a luxury emporium.
A monthly changing expo-in-expo, installed by leading stylists, designers and fashion photographers, is highlight the constantly shifting nature of fashion. A series of spaces is 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 have their jackets ritually removed. Visitors 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 also explores 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 present the findings of their research in an extensive display with critical commentary.
The notion of time and history as fluid plays a central role in the Temporary Fashion Museum. It is presented 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.
Fashion has quietly renewed the very idea of renewal by constantly selling the past as a future, thereby framing current reality. This contrasts sharply with the idea that renewal always stems from technological innovation. Het Nieuwe Instituut has therefore decided to pay particular attention to this form of renewal.
From the foyer to the cloakroom, and from the reading room to the auditorium and exhibition galleries, this Temporary Fashion Museum comes alive throughout the Institute.