Pink not pussy. It’s the first thing you see when entering the hall of the Gemeente Museum Den Haag. It’s a strong and outstanding statement, introducing the beginning of the all-female exhibition Femme Fatales. The first exhibition in fashion history that is entirely dedicated to female designers.

Femme Fatales shows the work of female fashion designers who created a hype, a beginning of an era (miniskirts!), stand up for climate change and female fashion designers who are not afraid to make a statement with strong slogans on their designs.

I was surprised about the fact that this is the first exhibition in fashion history dedicated to female designers. For me, being a female myself, I never really thought about the gender the person has who designs the clothes I wear. Trough my clothing I do express myself and yeah, the one day I feel more feminine than the other day. It’s a good thing that Gemeente Museum Den Haag dedicated an exhibition to empower the strong females that we have today. The introduction at the beginning of the expo explains how difficult it was to be a female seamstress just about 100 years ago. As with many things in society, they were subordinate to their male colleagues. Fortunately, they’re now getting more respect. The respect they deserve. But honestly, the first exhibition in history ever? How come? How does it occur that females seem to be always less highlighted? The exhibition didn’t really gave an answer to that question. But it did made me think.

Iris van Herpen Femme Fatales
Flying dress and 3D-print dress from Iris van Herpen

In what industries are females also less highlighted? How many female street artists do I know?

After the short history in the beginning of the exhibition, the tribute to girl power really begins. Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, who uses new technology like 3D-printing, is shown. Her creations are sometimes not even clothes but pieces of art. Female icons like Coco Chanel, Biba fashion and Elsa Schiaparelli, who all had a lot of meaning and influence back in the days and also on how we dress nowadays, are highlighted. But reading about the above designers actually didn’t really inspire me or teach me anything. Instead, I was impressed by the next room. The space was filled with mannequins protesting. Making a statement. About climate change, gender, rights and the big slogan on the wall: we should all be feminists.

Iris van Herpen Femme Fatales, Gemeente musuem den haag
Femme Fatales statement, various fashion designers

But there was one specific mannequin that took my attention. It was with a design from Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior. The designer created a hassle a couple of years ago by placing strong statements on clothes. One of them inspired me, triggered me to do something myself. You’ll read what later on.

As one of  Maria Grazia Chiuri designs says: Why have there been no great women artists?

Statement shirt by Maria Grazia Chiuri
Statement shirt by Maria Grazia Chiuri

For me, working in art, I can take that in two ways: I can take it as the statement it is, but of course there have been great woman artists. Only they’re less known than their male colleagues and that’s why it seems like there have been less great female artists. Or I can be offended and ask the same question: why have there been no great female fashion designers? Well, as seen in the expo, there have. Just no one was paying attention to them. I wasn’t offended. I got inspired.

On our very own website I realized, we most of the time talk, write and promote male street artists. It’s not a conscious choice. But I will make one now. From now on we will pay more attention to female (street) artists on our website. Get ready for a lot of awesome women who are busy making career as an artist. Some of them you might already know, others not. Let’s get to know them better and bring an ode to them! I know there are quite a few platforms and websites who pay attention to female artists, but there’s not much, so let’s change that.

Femme Fatales is on show till the 24th of March 2019 at Gemeente Museum Den Haag


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