Temporary Fashion Museum Rotterdam

The Netherlands has a new museum for fashion—at least for a few months. Recognizing that the country has institutions for studying architecture and furniture design, but no dedicated home for fashion, Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam has transformed itself into the Temporary Fashion Museum. Normally dedicated to architecture and other types of design, the center has given over its galleries to a series of fashion exhibitions until May. Reflecting the Dutch reputation for conceptual thinking, many of the exhibitions raise questions about the nature of a museum, the nature of fashion, and the fuzzy line between culture and commerce. “Hacked” by fashion designers Alexander van Slobbe and Francisco van Benthum, for instance, presents appropriated pieces of fast fashion that have been transformed with new details to give them a different, upscale life.   The institute’s largest gallery hosts “Collected By . . . ,” a presentation of the collections of Ferry van der Nat and Eva Maria Hatschek. Designed by Rotterdam-based Studio Makkink & Bey (which designed a traveling exhibition for Jean Paul Gaultier last year), the show features an armature of off-the-shelf industrial shelving, on which many of the pieces are stored in boxes. Visitors are encouraged to touch, study, try on, and even buy some of the items on view. In this way, it becomes what Rianne Makkink, who runs the studio with Jurgen Bey, calls an “active archive.” The pair have also designed the exhibition “Dressed by Architects – Surprising Finds,” which explores the clothing that architects have imagined for people populating their architectural renderings—proving that, whether intentionally or not, even architects routinely dabble in fashion. Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museumpark 25, Rotterdam; hetnieuweinstituut.nl  

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