On 22nd November 2015, after extensive renovations, the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) reopened with a new attire. Many parts of the building, designed in 1966 by Rolf Gutbrod in the spirit of post-war modernism, have been remodelled by the architectural firm of Kuehn Malvezzi. Newly designed are the exhibition rooms for the Fashion, Design, and Jugendstil to Art Deco collections.
The remodeling of a museum and a totally new presentation of the fashion collection was more than one good reason for me to stop by while I was in Berlin last weekend. I love fashion exhibitions which allow me to get lost in history or the work of a certain designer. I was really curious because the presentation starts with the 18th century and goes on until modern times.
The new fashion gallery beckons as soon as you enter. In large showcases, installed in rooms lit dimly for conservation purposes, mannequins model around 130 costumes and accessories. Representing 150 years of fashion history, the display conveys a sense of strolling through a shopping arcade, with the creations of such famous couturiers as Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior in the windows. This is the first time that Berlin has had a permanent exhibition covering every aspect of fashion.
The dresses, shoes and accessorize is accompanied by images of famous artists in light boxes. There is also a video room which is kind of hidden. You just find it if you follow the voices you hear in the exhibition. That’s a bit strange I have to admit because the sign system in the rest of the house is pretty good actually and very helpful.
I like the remodeled Kunstgewerbemuseum. It’s perfect for a museum visit if you’re interested in fashion. You can get a good overview of the history of fashion without too many details. Wall texts will give you an introduction to the different centuries and then you can just enjoy yourself and a great deal of fashion and clothes. So if you’re in Berlin the next time give this museum a chance and pay it a visit. It’s a nice change to all the big ones with their blockbuster exhibitions there.
You get a great overview of the museum in this new Youtube video:
See more of the museum’s collection at Europeana’s Fashion tumblr
Kunstgewerbemuseum, Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin