As Europe and some parts of Asia open up, museums have kicked into gear by unleashing content they have been holding on to until it was safe to welcome visitors. Our borders remain closed and international leisure travel is still some ways away, but just because we cannot leave the country doesn’t mean gloriously fashionable content is out of reach. Here are some digital exhibitions you can pore over ahead of when we can start visiting physically again.
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
Conceived in collaboration with the Lasalle College of the Arts’ School of Fashion and the Textile and Fashion Federation, #SGFASHIONNOW is a result of Asian Civilisations Museum’s first tripartite partnership within Singapore’s fashion ecosystem. On display are cross-cultural works and fashion-forward creations by local designers, organised in two sections — ACM x TaFF features four ensembles by Singapore-based finalists of fashion design competition Singapore Stories 2020, while ACM x Lasalle showcases works by eight practising local designers, including established professionals Andrew Gn, Goh Lai Chan and Priscilla Shunmugam.
Until Dec 19. For more info, see here.
Fashion and heritage
Museo Cristóbal Balenciaga — Getaria, Spain
The exhibition presents, in chronological order, a selection of pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga from his early days, with works pre-dating the establishment of his first business in 1917, to 1968, when he announced his retirement from the world of haute couture and the closure of his salons. The idea is to reflect on the progressive evolution of Balenciaga’s technique and aesthetics over five decades, highlighting his revolutionary contributions and explaining why his creations have transcended the concept of fashion to become heritage pieces today.
Helmut Newton Foundation — Museum for Photography, Berlin
After taking a full-time position with the French edition of Vogue in 1961, Helmut Newton worked in parallel for the fashion magazine’s American edition as well. During this time, he produced images in both Europe and the US. In the 1970s, most of Newton’s American fashion and nude photographs were shot in New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Los Angeles for various magazines. After 1980, when Helmut and June Newton began travelling regularly to California to spend the winter months at Chateau Marmont, he made numerous portraits of the “famous and infamous” in and around Hollywood for magazines. The museum has created an interactive, virtual reality tour of America 1970s/80s, featuring an audio commentary by curator and director Matthias Harder.
Until Oct 10. See here.
Acknowledging its role as a world-class hub of fashion history, Antwerp is celebrating the reopening of The Mode Museum after a lengthy renovation process. For those able to go, expect to see an expanded library, archive (boasting over 30,000 items) and a new exhibition space detailing the history of Belgian fashion. But for those sitting pretty at home, the museum has uploaded over 1,000 videos from its archives to allow viewers from all over the world to be part of its reopening. There is much to see, as the museum’s changing themed exhibitions are the result of intense work with the fashion sector as well as research on fashion, costume and textiles.
Bags: Inside Out
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Bags, once worn within clothing to conceal valuables, have become a symbol of status and profession, serving as a vessel for making political statements and turning into covetable and iconic showpieces along the way. Discover how this everyday item has evolved over time in a journey that go from rucksacks to despatch boxes, Birkin bags and Louis Vuitton luggage in Bags: Inside Out, which playfully explores the style, function, design and craftsmanship of the ultimate accessory.
Until Jan 16, 2022. See here.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris
Reopened to the public in June, the YSL Museum in Paris has made its digital archives available for viewing. Digital biographies chart the trajectories of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, from the pair’s personal lives and convictions to Saint Laurent’s signature designs and the history of the haute couture house. On the remarkably easy-to-navigate website, explore the topics of your choice and take a look at the major events that shaped their unusual destinies.
This article first appeared on Sept 20, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.