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E/Motion. Fashion in Transition

Start Date 04 September 2021
End Date 23 January 2022
Venue MoMU
Location Antwerp, Belgium
Curator Kaat Debo and Elisa de Wyngaert
Designer Jan Versweyveld in collaboration with HuismanvanMerode
Gallery view showing a group of mannequins wearing a variety of black, red and white clothes, mostly dresses, on grey wooden plinths. Photographs and films are shown on the surrounding walls.

With this exhibition, MoMu looks back on events from the past three decades and asks questions about how fashion can reinvent itself as an industry, as well as the role that fashion designers can play in the future.

Through themes such as the female body, 9/11, identity and surveillance the exhibition looks at how fashion can expose and even anticipate the different emotions running through society. Fashion sits at the very centre of contemporary life, and artists and designers play leading roles in constructing images and meaning in times of fundamental and systemic change. Fashion was in constant dialogue with, and even predicted, different crises and transitions. Like no other medium, fashion can magnify the raw emotions within society. Understanding fashion is a way to understand, and even articulate, both the hopeful and uncomfortable truths of the world. ‘E/MOTION’ looks at the way fashion has been a visual signifier of contemporary instabilities, concerns and emotions.

The exhibition is divided into chapters that function as portals through which social, political and psychological change is explored. All objects – an assemblage of fashion silhouettes, artworks, photography, video and documentation – are presented as symbols, icons or metaphors of their time. Sometimes they offer insights into critically dark truths about the world, whilst others provide humorous portrayals on what it is like to live in the world today.

© MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp, photo Stany Dederen

The exhibition wants to inspire and ask questions about the reinvention of fashion as an industry and the future role of designers and artists. Above all else, ‘E/MOTION. Fashion in Transition’, is a story about our dire need for emotion. Fashion is emotion and in motion.


In order to reflect on the future of fashion, as well as on the recent past, numerous interviews with fashion students and established designers were conducted. The designers gave their personal views on a wide range of subjects. Fragments of personal stories are brought together in a series of live performances by director, performer and countertenor Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe, in collaboration with Opera Ballet Vlaanderen.

The exhibition includes work by, amongst others Helmut Lang, Walter Van Beirendonck, Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Versace, Phoebe Philo, Demna Gvasalia, Molly Goddard, Simone Rocha, BOTTER, Pyer Moss, Minju Kim, Kenneth Ize, Ester Manas, Supriya Lele, Marine Serre, Jenny Holzer, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nick Knight, Cindy Sherman, Sho Shibuya, Steven Meisel, Jackie Nickerson, David Sims, Juergen Teller, Barbara Kruger