• mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
  • mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
  • mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
  • mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
  • mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
  • mak_exhibition_show_off_vienna_zip_magazine
Dress by Rudi Gernreich, fall 1971. Model Peggy Moffitt © image William Claxton courtesy Demont Photo Management.
MAK 2020 - Main exhibition room. SHOW OFF, Austrian Fashion Design. © Ditz Fejer / MAK
Exhibition room MAK. © Ditz Fejer / MAK
Helmut Lang, FW 04/05 V-strap sandal in horsehair and suede © hl-art
Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, Advertising Campaign, FW 18/19 © Juergen Teller
Ute Ploier, MANMACHINE © Günther Parth


    28 July 2020

    By Fiona Obrowsky @fionaobrowsky


    SHOW-OFF highlights Austria’s fashion scene since the 1980s. More than 60 fashion designers, such as Helmut Lang, Andreas Kronthaler, Marina Hoermanseder, and Petar Petrov, represent Austria’s contemporary fashion scene. Furthermore, over 30 Austrian fashion photographers, such as Christian Anwander, Elfie Semotan or Jork Weismann present their art of the last four decades. 

    The exhibition is situated in the MAK (Museum für Angewandte Kunst), a museum in Vienna for applied arts, such as design, architecture, and contemporary art.

    The aim of the exhibit is to literally show off the development of the fashion scene in Austria, starting around 1980. Why 1980? Around that time, the fashion scene in Austria boomed, due to four pioneering events. 

    First, the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, also known as University of Applied Arts, Vienna established a system of changing international guest professors, a unique feature in fashion university programs. This concept was established by former headmaster Oswald Oberhuber. Internationally known creatives, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Raf Simons, Helmut Lang and Vivienne Westwood, taught students fashion. This year’s internationally known designers are Lucie & Luke Meier, the creative directors of Jil Sander. The University of Applied Arts ranks among the most acclaimed fashion courses worldwide. As the exhibit collaborates with the University, one part is dedicated to students’ work of the last four decades. Therefore, the exhibition also displays designs of newcomers in the fashion industry and not only already established creatives.

    A second milestone in Austrian’s fashion history is the foundation of the lifestyle magazine “Wiener,” which translates to “Viennese”.

    Yet another turning point in Austrian’s fashion scene was the international success of Helmut Lang and other fashion designers that originated from Vienna.

    The fourth and last milestone was the first events in the Viennese club “U4,” which is situated next to an underground station. The disco was a place where the fashion scene of Vienna met frequently. It was also well-known to be frequented by national and international celebrities, such as Kurt Cobain. 


    The exhibit is split into four separate parts. The first one, “Talking Heads,” are interviews of contemporary witnesses, which are projected onto screens. You can take a seat and watch 25 people answer the same three questions, but with 25 different answers.

    The questions are: 

    “Looking back at the start of your career, was there a striking event in the fashion industry? If yes, what was it and how did it shape you in your work? How would you describe your experience as an Austrian creative in a national and international context?Where do you see Austrian fashion in the future?”

    Amongst others, Gery Keszler (the initiator of the “Lifeball”), Desirée Treichl-Stuergkh (editor of “flair Magazin” and “H.O.M.E Magazin”) and Alexandra Bondi de Antoni (executive director of “vogue.de”) were interviewed on behalf of the exhibit.

    The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the University of Applied Arts Vienna. This construct represents a runway with screens on both sides. The screens show the work of the students while guest professors, such as Karl Lagerfeld, taught them. The aim of this section is to show that fashion isn’t all about beauty, it’s about the fabric, the texture of the fabric, diversity, making statements, and much more.


    The third and main part is situated in the biggest room. The tower-esque construct resembles the well-known computer game of the 80s “Tetris,” since this decade marks an important break in Austria’s fashion industry. The construct exhibits 250 creations by 60 fashion designers. Due to the structure’s shape, it enables the visitors to have a close look at the designs from every angle. The fact that the pieces are not behind glass make them seem attainable to the average person, because fashion should always be approachable and direct. The architecture also reminds of a department store rather than a museum. Because of the construct’s shape, the visitor can link several different pieces and make connections. Every angle leaves enough room for individual perceptions. If you want further information about the designer of a specific design, you can always have a look at the panels next to the creations. You’ll find some basic info about the creative, his work and the exposed pieces. A relatively large space is dedicated to the work of Helmut Lang and Rudi Gernreich.

    On the walls around the “Tetris”-inspired construct, artworks by fashion photographers are positioned. The large-sized creations of 40 Austrian photographers show off the enormous variety of the artists’ work. The displayed photographs represent the individual relationship of the creative with the Austrian fashion scene.


    The last room of the exhibit is dedicated to the documentation of fashion since the 1980s. Magazines and various different objects of the last four decades are on display, such as photographs by Conny de Beauclair, a former bouncer of the club “U4.” Most of the exhibited items are from private archives, such as Brigitte Winkler, an Austrian journalist. The aim of the showcase is to capture the moods and trends of the last decades.


    The exhibition is still on view until August,30.2020



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