Foto: Carl Bengtsson / Skarp

Foto: Carl Bengtsson / Skarp

A unique insight into the closed processes behind the couture fashion

Sven-Harry’s art museum opens the winter-spring 2018 season with the exhibition Secrets of Couture. This exhibition highlights the mythical haute couture fashion and its role in today's fashion climate, and also looks at the possible future orientation of couture. Showing international fashion designers such as Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen/Givenchy, Balmain, Castillo, Louis Vuitton and Stéphane Rolland, and Swedish designers such as Pär Engsheden and Bea Szenfeld, the exhibition explores the secrets of the couture world and gives visitors unique insights into the processes that usually take place behind closed doors. Many garments that have been worn by prominent Swedish women, arts celebrities and pioneers in their fields (from Selma Lagerlöf to the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius) will be featured. A centrepiece of the exhibition is the gown Sara Danius wore at the Nobel ceremony in 2015, created by Pär Engsheden.

With pieces borrowed from private collections, international fashion houses and the Swedish and Danish royal families, the exhibition seeks to give an overview of the history and future of the secret world of couture. One of the basic ideas for the exhibition is to raise issues on the relevance of couture in today's fashion climate, and how traditional craftsmanship can be combined with future demands on sustainability and new materials. This is explored with young designers, and especially in a collaboration with the Beckmans College of Design. Under the auspices of Pär Engsheden, eleven students have created outfits that give an idea of how future designers interpret couture as a craft and expressive medium.

The exhibition was designed by a team that has worked for three years on the conceptual structure and contents. The team includes Pär Engsheden, Ingrid Giertz-Mårtenson and Ulrika Kyaga.

The exhibition's creative directors are Pär Engsheden and Ingrid Giertz-Mårtenson. Ulrika Kyaga is a guest curator and editor of the exhibition catalogue.

Pär Engsheden is a designer and has been established for many years as Sweden's foremost representative of the art of couture. He is also the head of fashion studies at the Beckmans College of Design.

Ingrid Giertz-Mårtenson, MA, has unique expertise in international fashion and Paris couture, and has been the CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council for many years. She co-founded the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University, and is currently an advisor to various industrial and arts institutions. She has organised numerous fashion exhibitions, in Sweden and internationally.

Ulrika Kyaga, PhD in Fashion Studies and MSc in Business and Economics, has worked for many years with PR and communications in the fashion industry, and recently defended her doctoral thesis on Swedish Fashion 1930 – 1960. Ulrika is a popular guest lecturer and a specialist on issues relating to Swedish fashion and its development.

The exhibition scenography and design is by Johan Svensson, currently the creative director of Vogue UK, and former AD for Vogue Paris and design director of W Magazine.

The catalogue, presented at the opening of Secrets of Couture, seeks to offer more in-depth knowledge about the exhibition's key issues. The preface is written by Christopher Breward, one of the most prominent scholars on fashion history. Contributing authors include specialists and researchers in fashion studies, who discuss couture from a historical and contemporary perspective in relation to the themes of the exhibition.

The featured fashion houses and designers include:
Alexander McQueen/Givenchy
Stéphane Rolland
Louis Vuitton
Jacques Zehnder
Jørgen Bender
Castillo Balmain
Augusta Lundin
Pär Engsheden
Ida Sjöstedt
Bea Szenfeld
Sarah Hayes & Aspar Karahynseinov – H&M

and the following students at the Beckmans College of Design:
Amanda Borgfors Meszaros
Julia Correia de Verdier
Dat Dahn
Felicia Halén Fredell
Marie Isacsson
Matilda Ivarsson
Anastasia Jansäter
Robert Jonsson
Joonas Karhumaa
Sissel Kärneskog
Antonia Larsson Pihl

Special thanks to: