Description of the exhibition
Looking at their designs, it is evident that many designers are often inspired by the historical garments of the ancient Greeks, referencing original basic elements of women’s garments such as the the chiton, the peplos, and the himation. Minor modifications and interpretations of these articles have produced new styles and garments.
Details, accessories, and architectural motifs such as the attributes of the Olympic deities (shells for Aphrodite and peacocks for Hera, for example) are often adapted in full. Moreover, elements and techniques not present in ancient garments are added, and in turn play a determining role in the interpretation and image of Greek antiquity. One typically envisions a high empire waistline, wet drapery, and asymmetrical necklines.
The work of Madame Grès, a French fashion designer whose draped evening gowns form a milestone in modern interpretations of Greek antiquity, continue to influence contemporary designers. Madame Grès’ draping techniques have made history, and are an essential element to our classical heritage. Clothing from Greek antiquity has gradually developed as a classic style because these historic basic garments were adapted to different periods and styles during the 20th and 21st centuries.
This exhibition is based on the “Goddess, the Classical Mode” exhibition held at the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The selections made by curator Harold Koda from this exhibition are supplemented with garments from the archives of various designers, as well as the Summer 2004 collections of fashion designers from both Belgium and abroad.