Haute couture is not a 20th-century invention; “high” fashion and valuable accessories have been en vogue since the early
modern period. On the basis of graphic artworks from the late 15th century to the 1930s, the exhibition FASHION UTOPIAS: Haute
Couture in the Graphic Arts spectacularly illustrates the historical development of a passion for designs that fall between
the extremes of utility and utopia. A selection of 200 examples from the MAK Collection of works on paper, illustrated books,
posters, and magazines recalls the past five centuries of European haute couture.
The Renaissance is also considered an era of new beginnings and new trends in the world of fashion. This is manifested in
the use of new kinds of fabric and materials and evidenced in the few surviving image sources from the 15th to the early 17th
centuries by the copperplate engravers Heinrich Aldegrever, Jost Amman, and Jacques Callot. An outstanding feature from this
period that is displayed in the exhibition is a 140 cm long woodblock print by Heinrich Wirri, which was created in celebration
of the marriage of Charles II, Archduke of Austria, to Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria and provides a faithful depiction of
courtly displays of splendor.
The fashion of the baroque and rococo period was presented in an eccentric manner, like architecture or paintings, full of
emotion and rich decoration. Vast wigs concealed people’s actual hair, powder masked their natural complexion, and dresses
assumed shapes that in no way reflected the true form of the human body. A curious satire on this new style is portrayed in
the series of copperplate engravings Mascarade à la Grecque from 1771 by the French architect and decorator Ennemond Alexandre
Petitot. With the Khevenhüller chronicle from 1625, the exhibition presents yet another marvelous work from the MAK Collection,
which documents in great detail the history of the family, its characters and belongings. The sumptuous clothing it depicted
would go on to provide a model for the fashion designs of historicism.
The historical significance of fashion journalism from that time is conveyed by the Journal des Luxus und der Moden—the counterpart
of the French Élégance Parisienne—which was published from 1786 to 1827. As one of the first German-language fashion magazines
with richly colorized copperplate engravings, this publication was on the cusp from classicism to Biedermeier.
The Englishman Charles Frederick Worth elevated “high” tailoring and dressmaking to the status of a dedicated branch of industry
in the 1860s, and founded the association Chambre Syndical de la Haute Couture in 1868 to protect his designs from being copied.
Paul Poiret, a student of Worth, emerged as one of the first fashion designers of this genre. During his visit to Vienna in
1911, Poiret made contact with the Wiener Werkstätte, whose textiles would capture his imagination. Designs by Maria Likarz,
Felice Rix, Dagobert Peche, and Eduard Wimmer-Wisgrill bear witness to the mutual nature of this inspiration, which ultimately
culminated in the port folio Mode Wien 1914/15.
A view towards haute couture in the contemporary sense is provided by the extravagant fashion designs by Ernst Deutsch-Dryden.
The commercial graphic designer rose to fame in Vienna in the 1910s and 1920s before following fashion to Berlin, Paris, and
Hollywood, where his lively lines revolutionized the world of fashion illustration.
The idea for the exhibition FASHION UTOPIAS: Haute Couture in the Graphic Arts emerged over the course of more than six years
spent reappraising the considerable holdings of graphic artworks in the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection. The display
is not understood as a complete survey of developments in fashion illustration, but rather as an overview of the phenomena
of European fashion illustration on the basis of highlights selected from the MAK Collection.
Curator: Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, Head, MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection/Archive
with Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel Thu, 14 Apr 2016, 5 p.m.
Sun, 24 Apr 2016, 4 p.m. Back to the Future with Brigitte Felderer
Precious fashion publications from the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection are at the heart of this guided tour. Produced
in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th century, the designs tell a tale of the future that has lost none of its relevance
with the passing of time.
Sun, 1 May 2016, 4 p.m. Not Old Hat! Headwear between Utility and Utopia with Klaus Mühlbauer, Entrepreneur (Hutmanufaktur Mühlbauer)
The Viennese Hutmanufaktur Mühlbauer has conquered the international market with its premium quality handmade hats. What inspires
the collections? What role does (the company’s own) past play? Are there “bestsellers” and “bad sellers”? Klaus Mühlbauer
will talk to us about headwear fashions between the poles of utility and utopia—and about the secrets he has “under his hat.”
Wed, 20 Apr 2016, 3 p.m. Guided tour through the exhibition, followed by further discussion at the restaurant Salonplafond at the MAK, total price
Sat, 14 May 2016, 2–4 p.m. and Sat, 28 May 2016, 2–4 p.m. Workshop for the whole family (ages 4 and older) Fashion: dress—undress—change We will find inspiration in fashion from the 16th century to the present day and then create our own clothing lines: MINI
MAK Haute Couture. Come and draw, rip, stick, and staple. Fee for materials: € 2 Accompanying adults: € 7,50
MINI MAK Tour
Sun, 15 May 2016, 11 a.m. Fashion: dress—undress—change: a tour of the exhibition
Guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older) Accompanying adults: € 7,50
Fri, 24 Jun 2016, 3–7:30 p.m., as well as Sat, 25 Jun 2016, 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 3–7:30 p.m. MAK Lecture Hall (held in German)
THE FASHION SYSTEM / REVISITED: (Psycho-)analytical approaches As an expression of the respective zeitgeist, fashion plays a part in shaping a distinct image of people in the context of
cultural spaces and eras, and in doing so points to social differences and, to a great extent, controls or reflects the role
of the sexes. By chiefly analyzing the present, this symposium intends to foreground the hidden motivations and subconscious
meanings behind fashion-conscious behavior. Speakers: Anna-Lisa Dieter (Konstanz), Brigitte Felderer (Vienna), Elke Gaugele (Vienna), Rudolf Heinz (Düsseldorf), Olaf Knellessen
(Zurich), Gertrud Lehnert (Potsdam), Thomas Oláh (Vienna/Berlin), August Ruhs (Vienna), Elisabeth Skale (Vienna), Cosima Terrasse
A cooperation between the Wiener Psychoanalytische Akademie and the MAK
The MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection is one of the largest and oldest museum libraries with a focus on applied art.
Alongside classic library functions, the collection is also devoted to artistic aspects of the pictorial in all possible variants
as well as to the initiation of a reappraisal of art production manifested in paper form.