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LIVING FASHION Women's Daily Wear 1750-1950
Wednesday, 21 March, 2012 - Sunday, 12 August, 2012
MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp
In the spring of 2012, the Fashion Museum Antwerp presents Living Fashion. Women’s Daily Wear 1750–1950. From the Jacoba de Jonge collection, an exhibition about the influence of fashion on the everyday lives of middle-class women in Western Europe between 1750 and 1950.
As a rule, it is high fashion that attracts most people’s attention, while only a select few have been privileged enough to wear it, and then only on special occasions. Exclusive fashion trends were, however, adopted as much as circumstances allowed by women of the middle classes, and to a lesser degree by the working classes. Based on historic dresses and accessories, the exhibition sketches a picture of the relationship between fashion ideals and the clothing that was actually worn, with an eye to the timeless desire to achieve a fashionable appearance in one’s clothing, regardless of function. The exhibition also looks into the construction of such fashionable apparel and the consequences this had in posture and behaviour, as well as altering or adapting clothing to suit new trends.
Fashions were important not only in evening or formal wear, but also in day dresses, which changed according to the activities of those wearing them. Wherever possible, the actual scheduling of activities for each day also followed fashion trends. The significant rise of the middle classes in the 19th century opened new possibilities and gave access to new ways of spending time, stimulating consumerism and fashionable behaviour.
Travel, sports, just going for a stroll or shopping all required specific attire. The new department stores cleverly responded to this need by offering ready-to-wear garments and accessories. For growing groups of consumers, going along with fashions that were changing more and more rapidly became increasingly compelling.
The exhibition illustrates this story with 90 silhouettes, complete with accessories from the extensive historic clothing collection of the Dutch collector, Jacoba de Jonge.
Jacoba de Jonge
Jacoba de Jonge studied law in Leiden, but had been interested in the history of clothing and apparel from a young age. At the age of 16, she began collecting historic costumes, beginning with an heirloom from her great aunt. In 1965, she spent a year working at the Netherlands Costume Museum in the Hague.
Her collection now offers an overview of fashion developments from about 1770 until 1950, including some 2500 objects. Jacoba de Jonge has always made her collection widely available to the public, through lectures, presentations, courses and receiving visitors. She worked as a volunteer on costume exhibitions at various museums and was the 1994 recipient of the ‘Silver Carnation’. From 1970 to 1980, she was on the Board of Directors of the Netherlands Folk Costume Foundation’s Queen Wilhelmina Collection. In 1980, she helped found the Netherlands Costume Association for Fashion and Regional Costume, which she chaired until 1995.
In addition to loans, her collection has inspired several exhibitions, at Markiezenhof (2000), Huis Bergh (2003) and the Hasselt Fashion Museum (2007), among others. The Jacoba de Jonge collection now becomes part of the permanent collection of the Fashion Museum in Antwerp. This exhibition is a selection from this outstanding collection.