ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp 2022

Early 1800s mannequin.

In September 2021, ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp reopened its doors after a major revamp and major renovation works. But it had to close again soon, as there were issues with the ventilation. In October 2022, it re-reopened. Thanh asked me to join him on a visit. I was curious to see how different – or not – the museum would be just under a year after my previous visit. 

There are still three main exhibition spaces.

1: Collection presentation

On the ground floor there is the permanent exhibition ‘Collection presentation – Fashion from the MoMu Collection‘. It hasn’t change much compared to 2021, but some artifacts were new. Fashion items from 2022 keep the exhibition up to date. Nice.

2: ‘Exploding Fashion: From 2D to 3D to 3D Animation’

Exploding Fashion: From 2D to 3D to 3D Animation‘ by MoMu and Central Saint Martins offers “unprecedented insight into the role of innovative pattern-cutting in key examples of twentieth century fashion design”, the website says.

‘Exploding Fashion: From 2D to 3D to 3D Animation’ is a research project at Central Saint Martins of the University of the Arts London that explores how pattern-cutting in twentieth century fashion can be understood through the practices of making, unmaking and remaking.

“The project ‘explodes’ the mystique of the fashion design process in two ways. Firstly, it deconstructs the myth of the designer as sole creative genius by uncovering the intriguing role of the pattern cutter.”

Secondly, it reverse-engineers five historical designs by game-changing designers who were also innovative pattern cutters, digitally reanimating museum objects as moving images which visually narrate how these things were once made, and how they moved on the body. 

The designers are Madeleine Vionnet (1912-1939), Charles James (1928-1978), Cristóbal Balenciaga (1936-1968), Halston (1957-1983) and Comme des Garçons (° 1973).

This ‘deconstruction’ (MoMu loves the term and uses it a few times) of the design process is an interesting exercise. It also focuses on the craft of fashion. Having an idea is one aspect, turning it into reality is another.

Balenciaga dress.

3: Mirror, mirror on the wall

MIRROR MIRROR – Fashion & the Psyche‘ is a joint exhibition by MoMu and Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent. It investigates the interconnections between fashion, psychology, self-image and identity.

“How do contemporary fashion designers and artists challenge beauty ideals? Can clothing protect us mentally and give us strength?”, the exhibition asks.

The exhibition at MoMu puts our personal experience of our bodies centre stage. An unexpected and surprising dialogue between art installations and avant-garde fashion highlights such themes as body dysmorphia, the layered meanings and history of human replicas, such as dolls and mannequins, and the symbiosis between art, fashion and technology in the form of cyborgs and avatars.

Apparel and style do not emerge solely from the heads of well-known fashion designers, but can be created in isolation, in the privacy of someone’s living room or even a psychiatric hospital. 

Garments can send a message or be the fulfilment of deep yearnings, and go on to engage in dialogue with the world of fashion. The Dr. Guislain Museum brings together exceptional artists, each of whom uses textiles to give themselves a place in the world. Their creations might be hidden to the world, or revealed to just a few, but can also be worn with pride on the catwalk of the street.

MoMu presents the work of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Ed Atkins, Genesis Belanger, Hans Bellmer and Genieve Figgis, in dialogue with creations by designers such as Comme des Garçons, Simone Rocha, Walter Van Beirendonck and Viktor & Rolf.

Honestly, we were puzzled by this exhibition. The title is ‘Mirror, Mirror’, but the link with psychiatry is not very clear. Then there is a whole section on fashion dolls and mannequins and it ends with video art. 

The last video artwork , ‘Ribbons‘ by Ed Atkins, at east showed a penis. We love artsy penises


You don’t need many hours at MoMu and that’s fine. Not every Museum should be a Louvre or British Museum. In some two hours, you toured the exhibitions.

The current exhibitions were less our cup of tea. Perhaps next time will be a better match. 

Art and museums in Antwerp

19 Comments Add yours

  1. elvira797mx says:

    Very interestng post! Thank’s for share, Timthy.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Timothy says:

      Thank you Elvira. Have a great week as well.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. elvira797mx says:

        A pleaure, Timothy.
        You as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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