Der Eingang zum MAKK in Köln

#exhibition | LOOK: Fashion Designers from A to Z

Last week I visited the Museum of Applied Arts in Cologne to see the exhibition “LOOK: Fashion Designers from A to Z”. I had a great time and I was lucky that one of the employees from the press office had time to show me around. That’s the only way you’re allowed to take pictures. And what would a post about a fashion exhibition be without pictures. Right after they announced the exhibition I knew I had to see it but unfortunately I was in Seville during the opening. Read the announcement by yourself and you will exactly know what I mean 😉

The comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary fashion at the Cologne Museum of Applied Arts (MAKK), which for reasons of conservation can only be shown in special exhibitions, is one of the most significant collections of its kind in Germany. Largely consisting of private donations, it has grown dynamically to become one of the museum’s most comprehensive and valuable collections focusing on European fashion from the 19th and 20th centuries. The late 20th and early 21st centuries are also represented with signature pieces by renowned designers. Regarding this transitional period, the museum’s current activities focus on selecting representative pieces from the diverse and fast-paced fashion production in western consumer societies. However, in the face of both a hugely differentiated market and the specific conditions applying to museum collections, this selection can hardly be all-encompassing: the museum predominantly focuses on high-end pieces by creative fashion designers and on pieces by well-known labels that can be regarded as typical examples of the major trends existing at the time of their creation.

The special exhibition ‘LOOK! Fashion Designers from A to Z ‘ presents a selection of the most significant new pieces acquired over the last few years. The time frame spans from the 1960s to the present and the concept is intentionally designed to present a subjective image of fashion: given the cyclical nature of particular fashion trends, the selected exhibits are neither presented chronologically nor in an encyclopaedic fashion. Both the huge diversity and the wealth of forms that have characterised the unabated creative force of one of humankind’s oldest applied arts are presented based on the random principle of alphabetical order of names and labels. Visitors can expect a surprising and colourful kaleidoscope that highlights aesthetic qualities and truly matches the meaning of the Greek term: applying the definition provided in Wahrigs Deutsches Wörterbuch, the exhibition is a vibrant and colourful series of images, a magical mirror reflecting the image of fashion from the last few decades in its many facets, fragments and flavours.

The exhibition is as awesome as it’s sound and I can’t write about anything I saw but I will present you my favorite pieces!

A as Alexander Mc Queen

Alexander McQueen, Ready-to-Wear Collection “Pantheon ad lucem”, Fall/Winter 2004/2005, MAKK

Alexander McQueen was my first love when it comes to fashion. I had to do a presentation about his Haute Couture collections when I was still in university and attended the course “Art and Fashion”. The British fashion designer and couturier (1969 – 2010) was known for having worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and for founding his own label Alexander McQueen. His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA’s International Designer of the Year award in 2003. He was defiantly one of the most inspiring persons in the fashion industry for years. I’m still in love with his collections and shows which all where outstanding. He always crossed the line between art and fashion in them. And I still dream of McQueen handbag. So the gown you see on the picture was the first model on which McQueen experimented with a combination of prints. It’s ready-to-wear and so not as extravagant as his Haute Couture collections but still it’s absolutely beautiful and timeless.

A as Aigner

Aigner, “Wiesn Tasche” (Oktoberfest purse), Fall 2009, leather and textiles, MAKK

Aigner is a high fashion brand widely known for its accessorize such as bags, belts and other leather goods. It was founded by Étienne Aigner (1904 –2000) and was based in New York City and Munich, Germany. Both companies produced luxury goods including handbags, shoes, Women’s Ready-to-Wear, wallets, leather accessories and more. The American company is known for the label Etienne Aigner today and the German one for Aigner. They’re totally separated and individual. I own a vintage Aigner bag as well as a belt and I love them for their quality. If you buy an Aigner piece it’s for eternity because the quality is so good. So no wonder there was a little Aigner purse at the exhibition. Matching the season and the company’s headquarter in Munich it was an Oktoberfest one.

C as Chanel

Chanel, Ready-to-Wear Collection “Chanel Boutique”, about 1980, Silk, MAKK

Well, what has more style than the Chanel suit? Right, nothing 😉 So no wonder they had one at the exhibition. I will say no more about it. I already told you about my obsession with Chanel and the style in this post about the Karl Lagerfeld exhibition and in this about the Chanel book.

I as Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake, Ready-to-Wear Collection “Cicada Pleats”, Spring/Summer 1989, MAKK

Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion legend. He is known for his technology-driven clothing designs and exhibitions. In the late 1980s, he began to experiment with new methods of pleating that would allow both flexibility of movement for the wearer as well as ease of care and production. In which the garments are cut and sewn first, then sandwiched between layers of paper and fed into a heat press, where they are pleated. He worked with awesome artist William Forsythe. He also developed a friendship with Apple’s Steve Jobs and produced the black turtlenecks which would become a part of Jobs’ signature attire. You probably all know those. I totally admire Miyakes designs as they’re so special and different to what designers normally do.

M as Manolo Blahnik

Manolo Blahnik, Spring/Summer 2008, MAKK

I could fill a whole book about how much I love those shoes. Those are the ones Carrie wore in the Sex and the City movie when she married Mr. Big at the end. Well, she wore them in blue bot never mind. You get them in a variety of different colors. Those are on my wish list too. I don’t know if I could decide for a color but on the other hand I still have some time for that decision because I can’t afford them and probably never will 😉

P as Pucci

Emilio Pucci, about 1967, MAKK

The most colorful and playful style on this planet. If you love colors and prints you just have to love the designs by Pucci. It’s another label I dream of owning something from and one I told you about a lot when I presented the book about the designer. The dress is defiantly timeless and absolutly adorable.

T as Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler, Ready-to-Wear Collection “L’Été du Sahara”, Spring/Summer 1986, MAKK

The French fashion designer Thierry Mugler is known for his outstanding style and his perfumes. Mugler also directs short films, advertising films and video clips. He regularly designs costumes for musical comedies, concerts, operas and the theatre. He has worked with George Michael and Beyoncé. In 2002 he also collaborated with the Cirque du Soleil. The dress you see on the picture is a typical Mugler. His style is often very dramatic as you can see.

X as X’S Milano

X’S Milano, Forlimpopoli, Ready-to-Wear, Spring/Summer 2014, MAKK

The brand, created by Annamaria Casadio and Eris Bravi in 1999, is synonymous of high level clothing, knitwear and accessories; high fashion designed for elegant women always including the actual red of the flowers of the founder’s garden. I never heard of them before I have to admit but I really liked this dress and will check their collections out from now on.

So this was my little review of my favorite pieces I saw in Cologne last weekend. Hope you ejoyed it.

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