I’m always pleasantly surprised at the exhibitions offered at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.  I don’t know why, really. Maybe it’s because I don’t expect such high quality art to be right in my backyard, and it pretty much is. The museum is right down the street from my house.

Not too long ago, I made the trek down the street to catch the exhibition “Fashion and Art, A Passionate Affair”.

A section on Fashion & Identity examined 19th century trends and how artists in Holland, such as Henry van de Velde and Piet Zwart, designed loose-fitting, muted-colored garments without corseting, and distinguished Dutch fashion from the heavily corseted garments that were popular throughout the rest of Europe.

19th century Dutch fashion has muted colors and no corsets.
Sketch of Schiarpelli’s Lobster Dress… 
and the finished product.

Also on display was Yves Saint Laurent’s famous color-blocked dresses from the sixties, inspired by the work of Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan.

Yves Saint Laurent’s color-blocked dresses…
and the inspiration by Piet Mondriaan.

as well as the haute couture of Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf, which often looks as if it is better suited for a museum than real life.

The Gemeentemuseum, or city museum, of The Hague, owns one of the largest fashion collections in Europe, with all of the major couture houses well represented. Its collection even includes the original pink Givenchy cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was showcased in another fashion exhibition at the museum in 2010, Haute Couture Voici Paris.

I must admit, an exhibition with fashions by Givenchy, Saint Laurent or Viktor and Rolf will get me to the museum faster than say, one with portraits of ship merchants (yawn), so I hope the Gemeentemuseum displays more of their fashion collection soon.