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Woman by Vivienne Westwood, Christian Dior Couture, Maison Martin Margiela, Junya Watanabe, Ann Demeulemeester, Veronique Leroy, Bernard Willhelm, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan

Start Date 31 January 2003
End Date 18 May 2003
Venue Centraal Museum
Location Utrecht, The Netherlands

The seductive and ideal woman in 2003

From January 31 to May 18, 2003, the Central Museum focused on the ideal woman for four months. What do contemporary fashion designers see as the pinnacle of femininity and seductiveness and how important is that ideal woman in their work? Who are the stars they used to admire? How have their tastes changed over the years?
In the Centraal Museum, nine fashion designers presented their vision of femininity in 2003 in the form of an installation, each in a space of approximately 100 m2. Christian Dior Couture showed eight spectacular couture pieces from previous seasons. Hussein Chalayan designed thirteen ‘Objects of Contemplation’: clothing in the form of furniture. Viktor & Rolf made an installation based on their ‘chroma-key collection’ (winter 2002/2003).

From the explanation of this part, which was organized in the context of the thematic program ‘The Seduction’:
“It is typical of this era that each designer has created their own kind of femininity and seductiveness. The type of woman that Martin Margiela portrays (bar in front of the eyes) is very different from the exuberant and feminine woman of Vivienne Westwood. The fashion of now no longer presents one ideal type. This is partly due to the diverse cultural backgrounds of the designers. Western taste has no longer dominated in Paris, as is evident from the popularity of Japanese designers such as Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamamoto, but also from the designs of Hussein Chalayan, who is of Turkish/Cypriot descent. It is at least as important that women in 2003 are allowed to be completely feminine again with fur, a handbag and heels without being portrayed as victims of a male society. Is the woman politically and socially a different being? And: does that have an effect on what makes a woman seductive and beautiful?”
To sharpen the image of 2003, the feminine ideals from the past were presented throughout the space via historical fashion icons from the Centraal Museum’s own collection.