Outer Dark. Continuing after Fashion

13 June 2013 - 5 January 2014

Time and again, the visions of fashion were able to disclose social conditions.

Be it Coco Chanel’s designs, which accoutered the emancipated woman in practical and elegant tweed suits at the beginning of the 20th century, Christian Dior’s New Look, which heralded the end of economic scarcity in fashion after the Second World War, or the invention of the miniskirt during the sexual revolution – to cite only a few examples – the idea was always to create the fitting dress for the exemplary people of the epoch.

If fashion is considered merchandising’s dearest child and a yardstick of the modernist process, what distinguishes fashion that emerges in extremely challenging times? People say fashion mirrors the idiosyncrasy of our present, is the expression of life in society. The happiness researcher Wilhelm Schmid recently elected melancholy as the “in” attitude. But how does the melancholiac dress, what constitutes the fashion capable of giving this era expression?

The exhibition accompanied visitors to the shadow side of happiness, took them on a journey into a dark realm, on a necessary exploration into the uncertain, into what remains when we shed our roles. On the second floor of the museum the viewer were lost and founded himself in a multilayered multimedia installation.

Ultimately, he also surmised that there can be no intelligible answer to the question initially posed, because fashion is so much more than just a certain cut, a colour or a particular skirt length illustrated in glossies as the next season’s must-haves. It is a thin membrane, a permeable layer between our everyday life and the other side, on which the designers sound out the limits of human existence, feelings and desire – at a time in which everything already seems to have been said – continuing after fashion.

Mahret Kupka and Matthias Wagner K

Exhibition design:
Zana Bosnjak