Oh, That Dress!

6 October 2020 - 10 January 2021

Oh, That Dress!

Place Esterházyho palác, Bratislava, SLOVAKIA
Organizer Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava
More info https://www.sng.sk/en/exhibitions/2683_oh-that-dress

The Slovak National Gallery will again be dressing up! In 2017 we presented a broad view of the fashion of socialist Czechoslovakia at the exhibition entitled Nech šije!/Sew Long! We noted the turbulences between fashion and ideology, we delved into the inner workings of the giants of ready-to-wear clothing, and we discovered well-hidden design studios and shops. For some visitors, this heaping dose of garments from the days behind the Iron Curtain brought back nostalgic memories of long dormant creativity; others less indulgently recalled the chafing of polyester fabric.
Completely contemporary clothing practices will be the focus of our current project entitled Ó, šaty/Oh, That Dress! Formal dresses, the flagship of fashion design, in particular the work of Slovak fashion designers, will be launched in the gallery waters. And although contemporary fashion looks upon dress codes with scorn, clothing for special events - be they opera balls, Met Galas, or wedding or graduation parties, requires the intensive attention of the designer and the wearer. The formal dress format is hedonistic, pompous and loud, yet for the designer it is his/her essential profile testimony. Konštantína Hláváčková, the Czech fashion expert adds: "The design of a formal dress is an extension of the body, more precisely, of the human destiny to be included in the world and society through the body." It is a maximalist version of the seducing illusion of the harmony between personality and appearance.

The stimulus of the idea of showing this side of fashion and presenting, for the first time, a strong group of Slovak fashion designers, just recently occurred to us in the form of a new donation. Thanks to the generosity of Tatra Banka Foundation, the SNG has added an outstanding array of dresses that were awarded in the Mladý módny tvorca / Young Fashion Designer competition to its applied arts and design collection. The competition sponsored by the Tatra Banka Foundation Award for Art was launched in 2010. The dresses are the work of famous names as well as up and coming stars of the Slovak fashion scene; their task was to design a dress for a moderator/muse of a special evening event. We will present ten perspectives of contemporary versions of formal clothing from the designs and drawings, through cooperation with jewelers, textile and graphic designers up to "tentatively definitive" versions of the model. We will subtly combine the theme of formal clothing with a tour of the SNG's collections, as we peek at mondain French fashion, Realist and Modernist gowns, the attire of non-conformist muses and wedding and party divas in the dresses of their lives.

We have rewritten the fashion codes, and today we can consume fashion extra intensively through the internet and social networks. We not only wear dresses, we also share them, we show pictures of them, we collect and evaluate them. While in reality, very few of us will ever have the chance to tell our grandchildren about the time we tripped on the red carpet or complain to friends about how uncomfortable our grande toilette gown is, in virtual reality we can bask in glamour whenever we please.

Exhibiting artists:

Maja Božović Bažik, Pavol Dendis, Boris Hanečka, Marcel Holubec W., Martin Hrča, Lukáš Krnáč, Michaela Ľuptáková, Andrea Chrastinová Pojezdálová, Lenka Sršňová, Mária Štraneková