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Inside Out: Insights into Fashion

Start Date 07 June 2014
End Date 15 March 2015
Venue The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe
Location Hamburg, Germany

A coat with four sleeves, a dress like a snake pit, suits printed to look like bare skin or a red-brick wall – the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) is showing fashion which has first and foremost the character of a performance and is not always wearable. With some 55 models by iconic designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Martin Margiela, Alba d’Urbano or Iris van Herpen and video clips, the exhibition directs the observer to fashion which turns garments inside out and breaks up their surfaces. The variations on this theme which the 30 or so designers on show create are multifarious: the designs alienate the human silhouette like the 2D dresses of the Japanese avant-garde label Comme des Garçons, which overextend the normal dimensions of the body with seemingly huge geometrical dresses.  They use it as a surface to project images onto, like Henry Gordon, who made a dress into a Poster Dress by simply printing on it, or deceive the eye of the observer with camouflage or animal skin patterns. Designers such as Martin Margiela take their cue from artistic currents such as Arte Povera and make the construction of the garments visible with stitching turned outwards and open seams. Others play around with hiding and exposing the body. An elastic sheath dress by the French product designer Philippe Starck, for instance, exactly hugs the contours of the body, while the artful cut techniques of other designers illustrate how differently it is possible to realize the ideal of beauty which prevails at any given time.  “Inside Out”   compiles these different approaches, which “work out” an idea in themselves or with the human body as a foil, into four chapters: Simulation, Exposure, Alienation and Reshaping. Historical models also give an insight into the interaction between innovation, repetition and quotations in fashion and show how designers wrestle with what they find in the present.