Moi, Veronique. Branquinho TouTe NUe
In this first retrospective exhibition, the designer lets us look inside her ambiguous and suggestive world. She gives an overview of the themes and atmospheres that have been decisive in her work and give her collections her unique signature.
Duality and mystery are constants in Veronique Branquinho’s world ruled by attraction and repulsion, play and rejection. The image of a red velvet curtain on the exhibition poster, which alludes to ‘the Red Room’ of David Lynch’s television series Twin Peaks, is reiterated as the leitmotif in the exhibition’s scenography. Heavy curtains divide the different rooms. They create an intimate setting and challenge the viewer to discover and unveil what lies hidden on the other side.
In terms of the collection, it can be observed that, rather than reveal, the Branquinho silhouettes conceal. Recurring elements in her collections are, amongst others, long, trailing flounced skirts, capes with or without large hoods that partly conceal the face and turtlenecks worn under jackets, blouses or bustiers. These garments delineate a slender silhouette while rarely making things explicit. Above all, they leave ample room for the sensual play of suggestion.
Both in its imaging of women and in its use and combinations of materials, Branquinho’s work displays duality on different levels. In her creations, women come across as both innocent and erotic, playful and severe, mysterious and always complex. Her early work foregrounded the transitional period from girl to woman and the emotional complexity of the rites of passage in the lives of all women. Figures such as the schoolgirl, the prom queen and ambiguous film characters such as Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer, or Emmanuelle from the eponymous 1970s erotic series populate Branquinho’s iconography.
In the construction of her silhouettes, Veronique Branquinho enjoys playing with a mixture of elements from male and female wardrobes, both in terms of tailoring and in terms of material. She has a penchant for sturdy, classically English fabrics such as tweed, traditionally a part of the male wardrobe. In a single silhouette, she combines these fabrics with more flowing, feminine materials such as silk or frail handcrafted fabrics. This duality often runs through the entire composition, in which, for instance, a very ‘constructed’ and meticulously cut jacket might be presented together with a simple and more casual skirt. The tension between the extremes of severity and playfulness, between the rigorous and the nonchalant, between the soft and the raw is continuously explored.
Veronique Branquinho has invited the Blitz collective writer Oscar van den Boogaard, actor Steven Van Watermeulen, and Sven Grooten of B-architects – to help her realize her concept and scenography for the exhibition.
Exhibition under the lead of
Curators: Veronique Branquinho i.s.m. Blitz | Scenographer: B-Architecten
Imagery Courtesy of © MoMu Modemuseum Antwerp, photo Ronald Stoops