Strong Women in Fashion
Gemeente Museum Den Haag
–24 March 2019
The first female fashion designers had to fight for space in a male-dominated world. Many companies originally founded by men are now run by women. In this context, the “Femmes Fatales. Strong Women in Fashion” exhibition is dedicated to the role of female designers in the fashion world and displays works by Dutch designers such as Iris van Herpen and Fong Leng and also internationally renowned designers including Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Miuccia Prada and Mary Quant.
Their names are known and recognised around the globe; the catwalks of the world belong to them. Many female fashion designers wield an immense influence, and this is ultimately felt in our everyday culture as well.
The designer Rei Kawakubo founded the label “Comme des Garçons” (meaning “like the boys”) in the 1970s and the very name makes a political, even provocatively feminist, statement. This aim is also reflected in her designs, which appear to be androgynous and deal with problematic circumstances concerning the masses and affluent society. Elements of her first designs are now part of popular taste, such as trousers and shirts perforated with holes.
A more recent example is Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first collection for Dior. The designer was inspired by the Nigerian activist and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and had “We Should All Be Feminists” printed on a T-shirt. According to her own statement she wants her creations to be a response to the current political situation, which has to be countered in the times of Donald Trump and the #metoo movement. The relevance of female protagonists is self-explanatory, not only in the field of fashion. Besides, strong women in the fashion world are not a new phenomenon; the exhibition includes artefacts from the 18th century to the present day.
Following its appearance at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague, the exhibition will be on display at the Fashion Museum in Hasselt, Belgium.