Pär Engsheden och Sara Danius Nobelklänningar på Nationalmuseum

Beckmans artistic research, fashion

From 16 June, Nationalmuseum will show the exhibition Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius Nobel dresses. The exhibition is part of fashion designer Pär Engsheden's research project at Beckmans College of Design.

"It's great that one of the foremost art museums in Sweden is paying attention to my work and that fashion and couture are given more importance as an artistic expression. In my research, I have, among other things, looked at what couture stands for in a contemporary context. I hope that the exhibition contributes to a greater understanding that this direction of fashion is not just about surface and celebrities," says Pär Engsheden, programme manager at Mode at Beckmans.

Research on couture

The starting point for Pär Engsheden's research is the four dresses he created for the Swedish Academy's Permanent Secretary Sara Danius between 2015-2018.
"Sara Danius would have been with me in the project, as a writer, inspirer and interlocutor. 

The dresses gained a strong symbolic value as they were worn at four different Nobel parties and came to manifest what couture stands for today.
"A lot of people think the dresses were made to attract attention, but they were made to Sara in person," she said. With the help of the creations, Sara reinforced who she was while the creations in turn strengthened her.

The exhibition – a kaleidoscope 

As curator of the exhibition at Nationalmuseum, Pär Engsheden has explored how couture can be communicated in a museum context.
–For me, it is important to let the visitor get a holistic experience of the dresses; To see them separately, but also from all sides. Due to the limitations of the room, it was not possible to place the dresses as isolated islands. By putting mirror walls in a cross in the middle of the room, the effect is created by a kaleidoscope where the visitor in the mirror images gets the opportunity to see the dresses around and at the same time take part of all the details.  What is amazing is that the dresses are displayed together with the accessories that were worn for them, everything from jewelry to the spectacular magenta-colored platform shoes from 2017, says Pär Engsheden.

The research will be presented in a book in the autumn 

The creation of the dresses is characterized by a unique interaction between creator and client where both's deep understanding of the artistic process made the result possible. This autumn, Pär Engsheden's research will be published in a book where we get to know the close collaboration between him and Sara, the ideas and the process behind the dresses. We also get an insight into the important roles that tailor Maggie Webrink and Cathrine Dichy, responsible for hair and makeup, played for the whole. In addition, the book will contain unique imagery, reissued conversations and newly written texts by and with many renowned fashion writers and creators. The book will be released in conjunction with a seminar.

The exhibition Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius Nobel dresses, an exhibition about fashion as communication, identity and couture, will be on display between 16 June – 21 February at the NationalMuseum in Stockholm. 

Artistic research at Beckmans  

In 2017, Beckmans College of Design launched an investment in artistic research. Four different research projects have now been carried out that are linked to our areas of education product design, fashion and visual communication. The projects will be presented in different formats in 2020, while new research projects will be initiated.


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