From 10 January 2016 to 5 June 2016, Amsterdam’s Museum of Bags and Purses presents the exhibition Street Couture. In it, the museum seeks to identify what sets haute couture apart from global street fashion. The Street Couture style is all about mixing and matching: high-end fashion combined with street fashion, sports with pop culture and Dutch with European design. The exhibition brings together couture classics from the museum’s collection with street fashion from various parts of the world. It also takes a close look at the influence of street fashion on designers.
In the Street Couture exhibition, the Museum of Bags and Purses showcases couture classics, including designs by Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior and Alexander McQueen, that have been matched with exciting street fashion. Various parts of the world are represented – Japanese Shibuya girls wearing manga, lolita and gothic clothing combined with a classic Louis Vuitton bag and American hip-hop and sports outfits matched with Chanel. The exhibition also takes a close look at the influence of street fashion on designers. Examples include Marc Jacobs and Valentino who use camouflage prints on their bags. Or Dior, whose bags feature Andy Warhol-style prints. Designers also seek out collaboration with other disciplines, such as Louis Vuitton with conceptual artist Daniel Buren. This results in some exciting crossovers.
Haute couture first developed in the second half of the 19th century. British fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth designed his own collections, rather than being commissioned by his clients. The collections were presented to wealthy women, who added their own fabrics to his designs. Haute couture traditionally originated from Paris, but now increasingly comes from such cities as New York, London and Milan. In France, the term haute couture is reserved for a select group of fashion designers only. Designers must be specially appointed by the ‘Chambre Syndicale de La Couture’. They award the title of haute couturier only if the designer meets a series of strict conditions. Well-known fashion brands include Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Versace, Chanel and Victor and Rolf and Iris van Herpen.
From Street Fashion to Street Couture
Street or urban fashion originates not from designers themselves, but from street culture. It is a style particularly associated with youth culture and is most common in large cities. It includes a range of different styles, such as hip-hop, pop art, sports, shibuya or hipster, in which young people use clothes and accessories to create a personal style. It sets itself apart from mainstream fashion by emphasizing the individual. Ironically however, mainstream fashion also adopts elements from street fashion. In its exhibition Street Couture the Museum of Bags and Purses seeks to identify what sets the different international forms of street fashion apart from high-end fashion.