Beautiful birds and fabulous feathers at MoMu, Antwerp.

Ever wondered how all the famous fashion houses incorporate feathers in their wonderful designs? This spring the Fashion Museum in Antwerp hosts an elegant exhibition on the use of plumes and feathers in fashion and haute couture. From Alexander McQueen to Cristóbal Balenciaga, you will all find them in the “Birds of Paradise” exposition. With a mixture of couture dresses, garments and historical accessories, the elegant and refined character of the feather is the shining star in the museum.

LINPUNT X BIRDS OF PARADISE - PHOTO: Boy Kortekaas

The concept of “Birds of Paradise” started about a year and a half ago, a time the Fashion Museum usually takes to create a new exhibition. It starts with an idea from one of the members of the exhibition department, such as director Kaat Debo, curator Karen van Godtsenhoven or conservator Wim Mertens. This idea is then worked out in different themes and during several meetings the exhibition gets more structure and shape. One of the most struggling parts of creating an new exhibition is getting the pieces and art works you really want and that will fit the theme. For a small museum as the Fashion Museum Antwerp this usually takes up most of the time, another reason why the concept development starts quite early. It can take weeks before there is any form of communication between the museum and a potential loan giver, which can be frustrating at times. Fortunately, during the past few years the MoMu created a trusted name for itself in the art and fashion world, which leads to successful collaborations with other museums and influential fashion houses.

The exhibition covers the different associations you may have with plumes and feathers. The dark romance of the black feathers, the luxurious feeling of evening gowns covered in white feathers and the sophistication of the colorful, yet refined 19th century fans made with plumes from exotic birds.

LINPUNT X BIRDS OF PARADISE - PHOTO: Boy Kortekaas

The craft of the plumassier is highlighted in some of the designs of Dior, Chanel and Givenchy in collaboration with the renowned Maison Lemarié, known for their numerous techniques of feather embroidery. The British artist Kate MccGwire was asked to showcase some of her works in the exhibition. She primarily works with pigeon and crow feathers and creates engaging and otherworldly organic art pieces. Her large feather sculptures forces the viewer to look at pigeons and crows in a new light and create new connotations with these everyday birds. Next to that, a couple of contemporary designers are featured in this exhibition, such as the  Belgian designers Ann Demeulemeester and Dries van Noten, who both are huge fans of the use of feathers in their designs.

But the crown jewel of “Birds of Paradise” is the iconic swan’s down coat, worn and owned by Marlene Dietrich. The feathers of over 300 swans were needed to make the coat, which is 360 centimeter long from collar to tail. The gown almost looks like it was made out of fuzzy fur, which enhances the glamorous feeling of this luxury piece.

LINPUNT X BIRDS OF PARADISE - PHOTO: Boy Kortekaas

“Birds of Paradise” sheds a new light on every winged animal which is out here and makes you want to wear your peacock printed dress which was hanging in the back of your closet for way too long. Though, the truly successful factor in this exhibition is the versatility in the beautiful clothes and themes.  Every theme focusses on different use of feathers, which makes this exhibition playful and well-rounded from the beginning to the end. So, let yourself be amazed by tropical birds and elegant doves and visit the Fashion Museum Antwerp for a feathery experience in fashion history.

Featuring Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Louis Vuitton, Thierry Mugler, Giambatista Valli, Yves Saint Laurent and Ann Demeulemeester.

You can visit Birds of Paradise- Plumes and Feathers at the Fashion Museum Antwerp until August 24, 2014. For more information on this exhibition, visit www.momu.be or www.facebook.com/momuantwerp.

Text: Charlotte de Gier
Photo: Boy Kortekaas
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Vivienne Westwood S/S 2014

Not far from the famous harbor does a crowd of fashion lovers gather, as a final salute after a week of fashion at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Hong Kong does love extraordinary shows. Even though we recognize looks from the prêt-à-porter show in Paris last September, we still dream away at the showcase of a runway equivalent of a mixtape of over 50 pieces from her four collections: Gold Label, Red Label, Man and Red Carpet.

Vivienne Westwood collection’s ascendancy is a result of hard work of four decades and its essence remains soulfully punk British; tartan prints, massive platform shoes and Watteau gowns of endless silk and lace.

While the concepts based on life of ordinairy people in the Middle Ages,  Shakespear’s play Canterbury Tales, Gustave Courbert’s painting Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, Poverty in India and Indian governments profiting off the spoils may seem like a whirlwind of randomness for the untrained eye.
Even then, every single piece is screaming: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD.

The Climatic Revolution concept is a brilliant approach of sustainability, where we are not force-feeded obvious green fashion. Instead, Dame Viv is mixing boundless creativity in a juxtaposition of recycled materials and exquisite fabrics; a theatrical night gown dappled with used sunglass lenses.

Dame Viv, throw me through the rabbit hole again, I don’t want to wait until next season.

Linpunt x Vivienne Westwood

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BARBARA I GONGINI S/S14 // W19/M2

Our halloween costumes may still be on the foot ends of our beds while we give our last salute to this summer’s bold and bright fashion.

My mother; dictator of floral for summer and blacks for winter. My mother, great woman and loving wife, was never able to tell me what to do, when to do it. Since when do we care about fashion tyranny anyway? – Anna Wintour, may you have mercy on my soul.
When “I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker color” is a life slogan, you go further than just prints and patterns. Silhouette, textile and texture suddenly seem more important.

Barbara í Gongini’s transitional and conceptual S/S 2014 line seems to translate this with their muted color palette. Deep blacks, crisp whites, dirty greys and faded dark tones are paired up with degraded metals and grey metallics. Hard leathers and stern linens are contrasted by fine knits, sheer dried cottons and translucent gauze.

LINPUNT X BIGfemme collection 19 – photo: Michael Maximillian Hermansen
 

Concept meets functionality, deconstruction meets tailoring; the composition of layering and volume interact with 3D surfaced rendered lines and tules into a symphony of monochrome individuality.

LINPUNT X BIG MENSWEARhomme collection 2  - photo: Michael Maximillian Hermansen
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First gaze on Lady Dior, As Seen By.

My boyfriend gives me looks of fear and distress when I ask him to get something from my handbag. -Afraid to be sucked in and lost for years and years, wandering Narnia. Most ladies agree with me that a good handbag can hold everything: a phone, tampons, a stuffed make-up pouch, the universe, snacks, you name it. Pier 4 on Hong Kong Island stepped in the footsteps of Milan, Tokyo and Shanghai to be the home for this XXXL-sized bag shaped building,  known for its arching handles and dangling golden letters, which holds renewed interpretations in various materials by artists of various disciples, such as: photography, architecture and film.

Other than Christian Dior I am not a gallery owner, however, my passion for fashion, culture and contemporary art all came together on the exhibition floor with one bag that shows million faces. After all, every person can only truly call themselves a proud owner if the bag is not a borrow nor a fake, but a genuine reflection of their personality, and ultimately, their interpretation.

I might be just 4 years older than the iconic Lady Dior, it doesn’t change I wanted to be lost in this bag, and never to be found again.

LINPUNT X LADY DIOR

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There’s no place like home.

Some wonder why I travel the world to search for my identity. Doesn’t everybody have one handed to him for free at birth? One that is defined by sex, age, upbringing, nationality, culture, society and so much more. To be honest, I was pretty okay with that for the first twenty years until I hit my quarter life crises.
Being a twenty-something woman and raised by Vietnamese parents was not something I could not accept. But my passport country, the interest in culture and approval of my small town society was something I could claim or discard.

It was the desire of being independent and finding a life that would fit me, being bullied by my asshole, fuckhead, so called “friends” from elementary through high school, grabbing the opportunity to not being tied down to one place. Whatever the reason was, and I’m sure at one point even the color of my heels seem to be a legit reason, it got me driving my school councilors crazy. I wanted to live in Hong Kong, for at least six months. They had to give me the exchange spot. We worked our way through tons of paperwork, made the calls, sacrificed a goat, and did interviews. I needed to figure out if this could be that idyllic place called “home”.

By the end of the first month I got back into my identity crisis. – Awesome.

After sort of getting settled in my awesome new apartment, with my awesome new furniture and ready to attend my awesome new school and job, I understood there was no way for me to get a permanent residence card during my stay this time. I had to take a moment to process that I only was granted two out of the three values I set myself. I’m born in Hong Kong in the grey area of nationalities, a great representation of where I am today: in between, the realization and calculation of my past and my next move. My days consist of sudden shocks of awareness of in between scholar and career life, in between countries and in between meals.

Linpunt x Home

I’m brought up with the idea you should never be ashamed how you feel. (This might have been bait to get me out of my non-existing lesbian closet or my very real depressive suicidal spiral.)

The Netherlands has tried to brand themselves as open-minded and multicultural. In the recent years this has changed into a close-curtain culture with a lot of finger pointing. I enjoy my student life in Amsterdam where boundaries and values appear to be softer than the north where someone with dark hair is still being hit on with lame pick-up lines that contain words such as “exotic” and “spring roll”.  It’s hard to be yourself when a part of society isn’t tolerant when you’re judged for simply your appearance.

The emotional bond with a culture should allow me to be proud of “my” country; it should give me the security of going one step further. It goes beyond just understanding the connotations of an orange, a lotus and a Bauhinia flower. Obsessing over these small details made me come to a semi-conclusion until I hit my mid-life crisis and run out of first world problems, such as marrying Ryan Gosling or buying my fifth Bentley;

Maybe I don’t need one country that’s my own, since borders seem to fade when you’re high on jetlag’s all the time anyway.

 By choice, from now on I’ll be a citizen of the world instead.

LINPUNT X HONG KONG 360 Aerial view of Hong Kong by AirPano.
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