When you think of fashion in Vienna and Austria, you might think of ball gowns and Lederhosen. But you’d be wrong, as the SHOW OFF exhibition at the MAK museum demonstrates.
- Traces the highlights of four decades of Austrian fashion
- Features dozens of designers and photographers
- Covers the clothes, events, media, personalities, and education
- Runs Feb 14 – Aug 30, 2020
- Just needs a normal entrance ticket or sightseeing pass
- See also: MAK – visitor & tickets info – selected past exhibitions
SHOW OFF: Austrian Fashion Design
(Schella Kann, leather outfit, FW 92 © Rudi Molacek)
With so many towering historical personalities of the music and art world in Vienna, those in other creative genres can struggle to attract the same level of recognition…despite the undoubted quality or originality of their work.
For example, play the word association game with Austria and it’s unlikely fashion comes up early in the conversation. Yet Viennese and Austrian fashion design is very much alive and kicking.
Despite the industry’s relevance, the MAK’s SHOW OFF: Austrian Fashion Design exhibition is the first significant event of its kind for Austrian contemporary fashion. It heralds the intended expansion of the MAK’s museal collection in this area.
The exhibits in SHOW OFF highlight the work and influence of fashion designers with an Austrian connection through birth, work or education. Think of it as a journey through a timeline of Austrian fashion design, beginning with the 1980s and ending with today.
This wealth of innovation begins with Vienna-born Rudi Gernreich, who appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in 1967 and made that publication’s 2012 list of All-TIME 100 Fashion Icons. And it ends with current stars of the field, such as Andreas Kronthaler of, for example, Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood fame or Kenneth Ize, a 2019 finalist in the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.
The curators, Ulrike Tschabitzer-Handler and Andreas Bergbauer, present three narrative strands in the exhibition:
- The clothing itself, featuring statements on fashion by around fifty designers. Fashion photography gets its say, too, with works from some 30 photographers.
- The industry as a social and cultural phenomenon, which examines media coverage and those events, magazines and encounters that have driven trends and perceptions.
- Fashion education, with a focus on the role of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Visiting teachers and professors there have included the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld and the (Vienna-born) Helmut Lang.
Dates and tickets
It’s easy to fall in love with an exhibition that starts on February 14th, 2020 (see what I did there?). SHOW OFF continues through to August 30th, 2020.
How to get to the exhibition
Like most of Vienna’s museums, the MAK occupies a pretty central location. It borders the mighty Ring boulevard at one end of the Stadtpark city park (home to the golden Strauss statue). See the bottom of the main MAK article for travel tips.
Once you’re done in the MAK, you can pop into the on-site restaurant for refreshment, or consider crossing the road to the Prückel (one of Vienna’s long-established coffee houses).
Address: Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna