Fashion in The Netherlands – Exhibitions Fall/Winter 2015


Fashion in The Netherlands

Exhibitions Fall/ Winter 2015

After a little summer break we’re back with the ArtSmart Roundtable. This month the theme is fashion, a topic that can be interpreted in many different ways, as you can see from the fashion exhibitions taking place in The Netherlands this fall and winter – including the exciting launch of Holland’s first (temporary) fashion museum. The variety of the topic is just as visible from the contributions of the other ArtSmart members, to be found at the bottom of this post. Let’s first have a look at the Dutch fashion world.

We can be honest. The Netherlands will probably not be the first country that comes to your mind when thinking about fashion. The Dutch themselves rarely really dress up and often use more nonchalant clothing irrespective the occasion, be it for a dinner or going out for the night, jeans often seem to be the preferred clothing item.

Yet, there’s enough reason to pay a bit more attention to what is actually happening in the fashion world in the “lowlands”. Not only is the country the birthplace of some famous fashion brands like Viktor & Rolf, Marlies Dekkers and Jan Taminiau, there are also various Dutch stylists, photographers and creative entrepreneurs having an important role in the international fashion world. Just think of the photographers duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who have been working regularly for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and magazines like Vogue. There’s also Robert Polet, CEO of the Gucci Group.

Add to that the stimulation of young Dutch fashion designers by for example the Redlight Fashion Amsterdam project and the interest of modern art museums in fashion as such, and you might understand the reasons why various museums throughout the country are all about fashion this fall and winter.

Let’s see what will be happening in the Netherlands this fall and winter around the theme of fashion:


New for Now, The Origin of Fashion Magazines

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Until 27 September 2015

Whereas fashion advertisements are nowadays mostly consisting of photos and videos, before photography and filming no such thing existed. Instead, publishers used so called ‘fashion illustrators’ to portray the models as elegantly as possible, following which a print-maker would transfer the drawing on an engraving to reproduce it and a colourist would add colours manually.


Winter and summer, Wenceslaus Hollar, 1643, courtesy Rijksmuseum

During the exhibition New for Now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam 300 of such prints, made from the year 1600 up to the first half of the 20th century, are displayed showing the development of women’s and men’s fashion throughout the centuries.


Twee coiffures van kapper Depain
Coiffures de Depain, ca. 1790, courtesy Rijksmuseum


Temporary Fashion Museum 

Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

13 September 2015 – 08 May 2016

Despite various Dutch museums having fashion items as part of their collections, so far The Netherlands didn’t have a national fashion museum. This fall and winter though the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam will be temporarily transformed into a fashion museum, to among others explore the possibilities for such an institute on a permanent basis.

Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Photo courtesy of Het Nieuwe Instituut

Fashionista or not, there’ll be plenty of interesting things to do for all different kind of visitors, be it by the trying, borrowing or buying of the clothing on display, the partaking in a debate about the social developments influencing the fashion designers of these days, making your own clothing or the viewing of an exhibition about the history of Dutch fashion plus much more. We’re booked in to visit the museum later this week, so keep tuned for more photos and information!


Ode To Dutch Fashion

Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

19 September 2015 – 7 February 2016

The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague is said to have one of the most important fashion collections in the world, among which pieces of internationally praised Dutch fashion designers, like Viktor & Rolf and Frans Molenaar.


Iris van Herpen, ‘Escapism’ collection, and ‘Hybrid Holism’ collection 2012. Courtesy Iris van Herpen. Photo: Sabrina Bongiovanni, Art direction: Maarten Spruyt, Production: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Initially, from the 17th century onwards, the Dutch elite mainly followed the international fashion trends. This, however, gradually changed from the beginning of the 20th century, when the first Dutch fashion designers started working under their own name in The Netherlands. Slowly but surely more and more Dutch designers emerged, all developing their own unique and distinct styles.


Max Heymans, ca. 1978-1985. Photo: Sabrina Bongiovanni, Art direction: Maarten Spruyt, Production: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

During the exhibition Ode To Dutch Fashion one hundred items of the collection of the Gemeentemuseum will be presented to illustrate the history of fashion in the lowlands as from the 1900s. Expect some colourful, distinct, yet beautiful designs.


Catwalk Rijksmuseum 

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

February – May 2016

As from February 2016 the Rijksmuseum will for the first time present a large number of creations from its costume collection. During this exhibition you’ll be able to see fashion items from medieval times to the world famous Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent (1965) and more. Further details are not yet known, but given the museum’s reputation we do expect some impressive creations.

The Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent.

The Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent. Photo courtesy Rijksmuseum


The ArtSmart Roundtable is an initiative of different art-interested travel bloggers from around the world. Once a month the members write a post about the same theme. The other posts for this month’s ArtSmart Roundtable are:

About The Author: Lydian Brunsting

'To be with Art is all we ask'- Gilbert and George. A quote that has stayed with me since I first saw it a couple of years ago. The word I would add though is 'travel' and that is, in fact, Art Weekenders, our new creation. The Art Weekenders project combines my passions for art, travel and photography, while we - at the same time - like to inspire and hopefully help you to prepare your art getaway. I am also photographer, writer and developer of the photoblog SHOuTography, a project that I started during a year of travelling through South-America to explore my life-long passion for photography.