20 April – 15 July 2018
5 May
Fashion Ball
Fashion Drive
A co-production with
Supported by


Visitors to the Kunsthaus Zürich can look forward to ‘Fashion Drive. Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts’. Two hundred exhibits – including everything from slashed clothing and codpieces to haute couture and street wear – testify the many ways artists have viewed, commented on and shaped the world of fashion through the centuries.

The exhibition spans art in multiple media from the Renaissance to the present day, with paintings, sculptures, installations, prints and watercolours, photographs, films, costumes and armour by some sixty artists.

Curators Cathérine Hug and Christoph Becker have secured the loan of some truly eye-catching exhibits, including a set of Austrian folded skirt armour from around 1526 that has never before been seen in Switzerland. Works by the English School are also leaving their homeland for the first time; others, like the painting by Robert Peake depicting the ‘Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I’ (around 1600) in a lavishly embroidered silk dress, have only recently emerged from private collections.

The exhibition gives equal weight to male and female fashions, and includes a strong element of critique. Caricatures from the Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek costume library in Berlin take aim at the fashionistas and designers of the 19th century, while ‘high art’ comes under scrutiny too, as Jakob Lena Knebl (b. 1970) clothes sculptures by Maillol and Rodin that otherwise proudly display their nakedness. Artists and audiences know full well that there are two sides to fashion – or rather, the fashion business: inspiration, innovation and individual self-empowerment on the one, exclusion and profligacy on the other. The arrangement of works at the Kunsthaus reflects these subtle distinctions.

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Renaissance and Baroque

The presentation opens with magnificent paintings from the 16th century. In the Renaissance, slashed clothing and codpieces were all the rage; indeed the appeal of ripped garments, which has its origins in that era, is still with us to this day. The subsequent Baroque period saw the ruff vie with the décolleté: in contemporary portraits of introvert and extrovert personalities they represent enlightenment and the rejection of constraints imposed by religion and social status. Monarchs such as Elizabeth I and Louis XIV were among the first rulers to achieve global status, and they systematically employed their wardrobe to project and consolidate their power. They were imitated throughout Europe, including Switzerland.

Folded skirt armour, around 1526

Probably owned by Albrecht, Margrave of Brandenburg, Duke of Prussia
Uncoated iron, partially etched; with black colour fills, leather
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Imperial Armoury

This folded skirt armour of chased and polished iron was made by a north German master plater using a model from Innsbruck for Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490–1545), Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. It is thought that Albrecht probably wore the rattling folded skirt at his wedding to Dorothea of Denmark (1504–1547), and that it was therefore for decorative use. The element of ‘cross-dressing’ makes it more topical than ever today.

William Larkin

Portrait of Diana Cecil, later Countess of Oxford, circa 1614−1618
Oil on canvas, 206 x 120 cm
English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London)

This spectacular portrait is an exceptional example of the fashion for slashed clothing that was widespread in Europe during the 15th and first half of the 16th centuries. It is a key thematic element of the exhibition.

Rococo and the French Revolution

The section on Rococo to the French Revolution shows how fashion and design blend into a hedonistic lifestyle from which others are excluded. The phenomenon of artists inspiring fashion is already in evidence here: the idiosyncratic pleat of the gown at the back of the shoulder is named after the painter Antoine Watteau! These innovations and extremes are strikingly illustrated in the paintings of Marie-Antoinette, the female ‘Merveilleuses’ (‘Marvellous Ones’) and their male counterparts, the ‘Incroyables’ (‘Unbelievables’).

Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun

Marie-Antoinette en Chemise, 1783
Oil on canvas, 89.8 x 72 cm
Hessische Hausstiftung, Kronberg im Taunus

This painting by Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun is one of the last and most important courtly depictions before the epochal change brought about by the French Revolution, which also extended to clothing. In this scandalous image, the Queen of the French snubs courtly etiquette and chooses to be depicted beneath her station. We find Marie-Antoinette in a simple, diaphanous cotton dress recalling the fashionable, bucolic idealization of the rural life of a shepherd. In a second scandal, Vigée-Lebrun – a successful painter at the time – presented the painting at the prestigious Salon, from which female artists were virtually excluded.

Unknown artist

Départ des Amateurs de L’île St. Ouen, around 1805
Etching, hand-coloured with watercolours, 21.2 x 26.2 cm (plate); 24.3 x 30.5 cm (page)
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Kunstbibliothek

The French Revolution and the Declaration of Human Rights also brought with them a right to choose one’s own clothing. After the Jacobin Terror, the aristocrats who had fled to Koblenz returned to Paris. They adopted an extravagant form of dress, which led to the women being dubbed ‘Merveilleuses’ (‘Marvellous Ones’) and the men ‘Incroyables’ (‘Unbelievables’).

Robe à la Française (à grand panier), around 1765

Brocaded shot silk, with adjustable petticoat, stomacher recreated
Collection Kamer-Ruf

This sumptuous ‘grand panier’ (large pannier) silk sack-back gown dates from the era of Emperor Louis XV. The material is known as brocade; it is a heavy, patterned fabric into which threads of silk are woven to create elaborate floral patterns. Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry, who besides their official function as favourites of the king left a substantial philanthropic legacy, were also stylistic pioneers in their fashion taste, of which this gown is an example.

First Empire and Congress of Vienna

The First Empire and the Congress of Vienna that ended it see a reversion to older values. Service uniforms appear alongside military in the art of the time. Influential salon ladies such as Juliette Récamier have their portraits painted, inspiring their circle not only to invest in new furniture but also to adopt a neoclassical appearance. Napoleon may have fallen, but Paris still dictates what is fashionable. At the same time, the exhibition sheds new light on the significance of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) to Europe’s new order.

For the first time, powerful rulers turn up accompanied by their wives. Negotiations are conducted, but even more energy is devoted to festivities, which require a wardrobe to match and create plentiful work for local producers. The forms and techniques of the tailor’s art are present in everything from depictions of martyrs to the poses of victors.

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Franz Krüger

Prinz August von Preussen, around 1828
Oil on canvas, 63 x 47 cm
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie

This portrait shows the statesman Prince Augustus of Prussia in uniform and places its subject in a dialogue with François Gérard’s portrait of Madame Récamier in the background.
Juliette Récamier was regarded as an intelligent, fashionable beauty. She maintained a salon in Paris that was frequented by members of the elite critical of Napoleon, including Madame de Staël. The prince met Récamier at one of these salons, and Krüger’s double portrait is an expression of their mutual affection. Along with the Empress Joséphine, Récamier was viewed as a female icon of the First Empire; and it is one of the ironies of history that such a firm opponent of Napoleon should have exerted so much influence over Empire fashion.

Progression and regression in the era of industrialization

Visitors with a keen eye for nuances can try to spot the details in academic painting that distinguish the gentleman from the dandy. While such male types are considered modern, remarkably, ladies of the era revert to wearing the crinoline. Artists respond with a mixture of perplexity and amusement, readily visible in the paintings of Édouard Manet, Félix Vallotton, Contessa di Castiglione and, today, John Baldessari in which representation tips over into caricature.

Édouard Manet

Jeanne Duval, la Maîtresse de Baudelaire (La Dame à l’éventail), 1862
Oil on canvas, 113 x 90 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

In the Second Empire of Napoleon III. the crinoline – once thought to have died out – again became hugely fashionable. In his painting, Édouard Manet clearly conveys the extreme awkwardness of this item of attire. His subject saucily allows her foot to poke out from beneath the vast expanse of the garment.

Giovanni Boldini

Le Comte Robert de Montesquiou (1855–1921), 1897
Oil on canvas, 116 x 82.5 cm
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

No history of fashion would be complete without the dandies, whose most prominent members included George Brummell (1778–1840) and – seen here – Robert de Montesquiou (1855–1921). At the time, their taste was considered subversive; yet they played a key role in developing the simple and reserved elegance, combined with a love of refined detail, that characterizes men’s fashion.

Fashion sets standards

Consequently, the liberation of the body at the start of the 20th century does not come as a surprise. Fashion is opened up to a wider audience as it becomes affordable and is sold in department stores. Progressive artists such as Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, Henry van de Velde and the Futurists Giacomo Balla and Filippo Marinetti all design clothes.

Just as they tried to do with language, the Dadaists redefine the purpose of clothing. Man Ray and Erwin Blumenfeld narrow the gap between art photography and fashion photography, and Russian and French avant-gardists Natalia Goncharova and Sonia Delaunay respond with designs of their own. Ornament becomes fashionable and is woven or printed into both Art Nouveau imagery and clothing. Now the initially idealistic marriage of art and fashion has taken on a commercial dimension. Fashion designers and Pop Artists are linked by the cult of personality: both employ icons and use strident, bold symbols and slogans, as the works of James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and Franz Gertsch testify. Youth cultures and subcultures become as inspirational for artists as they are for fashion designers. Fashion is now very much a material for artists.

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Giacomo Balla

Bozetto per vestito da uomo, 1914
Watercolour on paper, 29 x 21 cm
Fondazione Biagiotti Cigna, © 2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

In a 1914 manifesto on Futurist clothing for men, Filippo Marinetti and Giacomo Balla called for the death of dismal, symmetrical and wishy-washy fashion as a way to counteract the gloomy appearance of the urban masses. That same year, Balla came up with clothing designs specifically for this purpose.

Max Ernst

Au dessus des nuages marche la minuit. Au dessus de la minuit plane l’oiseau invisible du jour. Un peu plus haut que l’oiseau l’éther pousse et les murs et les toits flottent, 1920
Photographic enlargement of the eponymous photomontage, 53 x 55 cm
Kunsthaus Zürich, © 2018 ProLitteris, Zurich

Like many of his colleagues, Max Ernst – a Dadaist at the time and later a Surrealist – was fascinated by the social potential of fashion, believing very much that ‘you are what you wear’. A year prior to this photomontage he published the provocative, schematic fashion study ‘Fiat modes, pereat ars’ (‘Let There Be Fashion, Down with Art’), long before designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld declared fashion to be an art form.

Beyond fashion. A new reflectiveness

From haute couture via prêt-à-porter to fast fashion: the final section of the exhibition spans the arc to sustainability and post-human visions. Artificiality, the (de)construction of the body and a critique of the cult of brands are the hallmarks of 21st-century artistic production. Since Michelangelo Pistoletto, a young generation has been using installations, performances and videos to argue the case for ethically, ecologically and politically sustainable behaviour.

Peter Lindbergh

Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington & Naomi Campbell, Brooklyn, 1990
Exhibition print, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag® Baryta 315 grs, 60 x 50 cm
Courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris, © Peter Lindbergh

Fashion photography played a pivotal role in establishing the model as personality rather than anonymous figure in the 1980s and 1990s; and Peter Lindbergh was a key figure in this process. This distinctive photograph is particularly interesting because it depicts women from different ethnic backgrounds wearing unusually colourful men’s suits, with masculine haircuts and striking masculine poses: it is a taboo-shattering image in a number of respects.

Jakob Lena Knebl

Chesterfield, 2014
Digital print, format variable
Courtesy of Jakob Lena Knebl
Photo: Georg Petermichl

Viennese artist Jakob Lena Knebl questions the normative character of clothing that revolves around expectations concerning gender, age, origin and the human physique. She combines ‘spaces of desire’ that she creates herself with bold self-portrayals – as here, in a nod to Chesterfield furniture and its bourgeois connotations, where objectophilia and performance collide.

Sylvie Fleury

Untitled, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 125 x 125 x 10 cm
Courtesy the artist and Karma International Zurich, Los Angeles and Mehdi Chouakri Berlin
© Sylvie Fleury

The fascination with the hypnotic power of fabric samples that began with the industrial production of printed cotton fabrics from the 1850s onwards continues to this day in art; Sylvie Fleury’s take involves a decontextualized a Valentino pattern in a painted tondo.


Hans Asper
Charles Atlas und Leigh Bowery
Hugo Ball
Giacomo Balla
John Baldessari
Joseph Beuys
Erwin Blumenfeld
Giovanni Boldini
Pierre Bonnard
Louis-Auguste Brun dit Brun de Versoix
Daniele Buetti
Joseph Cajetan
Paul Camenisch
Contessa di Castiglione & Pierre-Louis Pierson
Joos van Cleve
George Cruikshank
Isaac Cruikshank
Salvador Dalí
Honoré Daumier
Philip Dawe
Franz Burchard Dörbeck
Albrecht Dürer
Nik Emch
Esther Eppstein
Max Ernst
Hans-Peter Feldmann
Sylvie Fleury
Emilie Flöge und Gustav Klimt
Samuel William Fores
Paul Fürst
Johann Caspar Füssli
Johann Heinrich Füssli
General Idea
Franz Gertsch
James Gillray
Natalia Gontscharowa
Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur
Nikolaus Grooth
George Grosz
Richard Hamilton
K8 Hardy
William Heath
David Herrliberger
Hannah Höch
Johann Nepomuk Hoechle
Samuel Hofmann
William Holland
Beat Huber
Jean Baptiste Isabey
Arthur Kamp
Tobias Kaspar
Carl Keiser
Jakob Lena Knebl
Herlinde Koelbl
Jirí Kovanda & Eva Kotátková
Franz Krüger
Johann Kupezky
Inez van Lamsweerde und Vinoodh Matadin
William Larkin
Claude Lê-Anh
Tamara de Lempicka
Robert Lefèvre
Peter Lindbergh
Les Frères Lumière & Loie Fuller
Nicolaes Maes
Édouard Manet
Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood
Conrad Meyer
Dietrich Theodor Meyer d. Ä
Shana Moulton
Antonis Mor
Anna Muthesius
Meret Oppenheim
Robert Peake
Mai-Thu Perret
Suzanne Perrottet
Charles Philipon
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Victor Ratier
Charles Ray
Man Ray
Hyacinthe Rigaud
James Rosenquist
Tula Roy & Christoph Wirsing
John Singer Sargent
Ashley Hans Scheirl
Elsa Schiaparelli
Michael E. Smith
Karl Stauffer-Bern
Karl von Steuben
Wolfgang Tillmans
James Tissot
Félix Vallotton
Carle Vernet
Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun
Madeleine Vionnet
Édouard Vuillard
Andy Warhol
Jean-Antoine Watteau
Jan Weenix
Mary Wigman
Charles Frederick Worth
Erwin Wurm
and others
«Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.»
Oscar Wilde



Let's talk

with Viennese artist Jakob Lena Knebl and Katharina Tietze, in association with the Zurich University of the Arts:

Tue 17 April, 5 p.m.
in German
Toni Areal
Free entrance

Fashion Ball

Party time for style icons and fashion gurus, queens and victims! Dress code? The more outlandish the better: dig out your punk dirndl, sprinkle fresh glitter on your drag costume, dust off your kilt, borrow a cassock. Anything goes: brocadedtrains­petticoats­crazyhair­leopardprinttangas­gucci&pucci­strasstiaras – or just IN HIGH FASHION.

Sat 5 May, 8 p.m.
Kunsthaus Zürich
CHF 45.- advance ticket sales
CHF 50.- evening box-office

Supported by
Swiss Re

JTI, UNIQA Fine Art Insurance Switzerland, accurART Fine Art Insurance Broker Ltd., Helvetia Art Insurance, AXA ART Insurance Ltd., MÖBEL-TRANSPORT AG, HAAS & COMPANY AG

Re:Frame Fashion

Students from the Trends & Identity subject area at the Zurich University of the Arts create their own topical imagery in response to the works in the exhibition.

Thu 17 May, 5 p.m.
in English and German
Kunsthaus Zürich
Free entrance

Fashion in literature

with Marlene Streeruwitz (writer, Vienna) in association with the Literaturhaus Zurich:

Wed 6 June, 6.30 p.m.
in German
Kunsthaus Zürich
Entrance included in the exhibition ticket

Silk symposium

Organized by the Festspiele Zürich:

Sun 10 June from 1 p.m.
in German
Kunsthaus Zürich
CHF 45/30
Information and tickets: www.festspiele-zuerich.ch

Clothing in art: a tour d’horizon

Guided tour with curator Cathérine Hug:

Wed 13 June, 6.30 p.m.
in German
Kunsthaus Zürich
Entrance included in the exhibition ticket

Fashion and prohibition in the 17th and 18th centuries

a special guided tour with catalogue author Janine Jakob:

Wed 20 June, 6.30 p.m.
in German
Kunsthaus Zürich
Entrance included in the exhibition ticket

Guided tours

Public guided tours

Sundays 11 a.m.
Wednesdays 6 p.m. (in German)
Sat 9 June, 4 p.m.
Sat 26 May, 4 p.m.

Private guided tours

Private guided tours by arrangement.

Art education

For all ages

Fashion workshop

Designing clothes, making paper hats, dressing dolls, laying patterns, trying out disguises and playing around with colour: our workshop has all this and more to discover and try out. It takes place on four Sundays and is open to all. Why not drop in before or after visiting the exhibition? Children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult

Sun 29 April, 27 May, 24 June, 8 July
10.30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Admission free


A passion for patterns

Stripes and spots – flowers and checks – leopard and tiger prints – colours and frills! Explore ‘Fashion Drive’ at the Kunsthaus and then put your own creative skills to work, inspired by patterns.
With Sibylle Burla, art mediator and trained textile designer

Wed 16 May, 5.30 p.m.–7.45 p.m.
CHF 45
CHF 25 (members)
CHF 15 (young people)

Fashion meets zeitgeist

Clothes can captivate or confound; they can express individuality or proclaim group membership. At one time or another, nobles, rebels, stars and youth culture have all been trend-setters. Learn how fashion navigates between contemporary taste and self-representation; then, in the spirit of Meret Oppenheim, make clothes out of paper that embody dreams and ideals.

With Eveline Schüep, Kunsthaus Zürich and Domenika Chandra, Museum of Design Zurich

An event in the ‘Early Birds’ series. For more information see www.kulturvermittlung-zh.ch

Fri 13 July, 9 a.m.–11 a.m.
CHF 20

Children aged 5 and over

Sunday painting workshop

A chance for parents to take a break while kids have fun exploring works of art, then painting and designing in the workshop.

Sundays, 10.30 a.m.–midday
8 / 15 / 22 April, 6 / 13 May, 3 / 10 / 17 June, 1 July
CHF 12

A profusion of patterns

Flourishes, frills and furbelows, plus much more besides! There’s a lot to discover in the Kunsthaus exhibition. What patterns do you like best? And where can you find them? In our painting workshop you’ll become the inventor and artist and design your own patterns.

With Sibylle Burla

Wed 25 April and Sat 26 May, 2 p.m.–4 p.m.
CHF 15

You are what you wear

What strange outfits people wore in the old days! In the ‘Fashion Drive’ exhibition we’ll discover some weird and wonderful items of costume; then, in the workshop, we’ll get active with brush and scissors to create a multicoloured clothing collage.

With Anna Bähler

Wed 2 May, 2 p.m.–4 p.m. and Sat 9 June
10.30 a.m.–12.30 p.m.
CHF 15

Silk, lace and linen

Elegant apparel made from luxurious fabrics; coarse rags of simple cloth. We’ll stroll around the Kunsthaus and absorb the magic of fashion in pictures. Back in the workshop, you’ll dress silhouette figures and design your own textile creations.

With Barbara Brandt

Wed 16 May, 2 p.m.–4 p.m.
CHF 15

Children aged 7–12

Neat and tidy or all muddled up!

Are you passionate about patterns? We’ll seek them out in the ‘Fashion Drive’ exhibition. Then in the workshop we’ll experiment with techniques, play with colours and shapes, come up with some nifty new combinations, and design our own patterns.

With Sibylle Burla

Thu 26 April
10.30 a.m.–2.30 p.m.
Bring lunch
CHF 25

Fashion point, ages 13 and over

From selfie to someone else

Take a turn on the catwalk, dress up in disguise and transform your face with make-up. Encouraged by the pictures in ‘Fashion Drive’, we’ll try out new roles and see how we can change ourselves.

With Regula Straumann

Sat 5 May, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
CHF 15

What’s the right style?

Street fashion finds its way onto the catwalk – and vice versa. But what makes something ‘trendy’ and why does ‘in’ suddenly become ‘out’? If you’re interested in the workings of fashion, ‘Fashion Drive’ is the exhibition for you! In the workshop we’ll create our very own look.

With Regula Straumann

Sat 2 June, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
CHF 15.–

Wanted: professional make-up artists

What’s the best and most natural way to apply make-up? How does make-up change faces? We’ll take a close look at faces in the ‘Fashion Drive’ exhibition, then watch a make-up artist at work and hear about her everyday working life.

With Regula Straumann

Sat 30 June, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
CHF 15

Please book in advance for all events
Call 044 253 84 84 or e-mail: kunstvermittlung@kunsthaus.ch (Mon–Fri during office hours)
Prices include admission and materials.

For schools

We’ve organized an extensive programme for schools to accompany the exhibition. Information and bookings hier.

«Eigentlich ist Mode ja rechnen. Und zwar mit allem.»
Elfriede Jelinek



The catalogue ‘Fashion Drive. Extreme Clothing in the Visual Arts’ (published by Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld) is available from the Kunsthaus shop.

This new reference work comprises 300 pages with several hundred illustrations and contributions from Christoph Becker, Sonja Eismann, Nora Gomringer, Cathérine Hug, Janine Jakob, Elfriede Jelinek, Inessa Kouteinikova, Monika Kurzel, Peter McNeil, Aileen Ribeiro, Franz Schuh, Werner Telesko, Katharina Tietze, Barbara Vinken and Peter Zitzlsperger.


Kunsthaus Zürich
Heimplatz 1, CH–8001 Zurich
Phone +41 (0)44 253 84 84


Fri–Sun/Tue 10 a.m.–6 p.m
Wed/Thur 10 a.m.–8 p.m
Public holiday opening see www.kunsthaus.ch

Admission to the exhibition incl. audioguide

CHF 23 / CHF 18 (concessions and groups)
Combination tickets including the collection and exhibition CHF 26 / CHF 19
Admission free to visitors up to the age of 16.

Advance sales

SBB RailAway combination ticket with discount on travel and admission:
at stations and by phoning Rail Service 0900 300 300 (CHF 1.19/min. by land line),

Zurich Tourism:
hotel room reservations and ticket sales
Tourist Service at Zurich Main Railway Station
Tel. +41 44 215 40 00