Modekern unveils Piet Paris archive

The fashion heritage institute Modekern will publicly display the one-of-a-kind archive of the fashion illustrator, art director and product developer Piet Paris. From Sunday 12 May, Paris’s work will feature in an exhibition, a monograph, an educational project and the Modekern website. The Piet Paris archive project officially launches at 5pm on Monday 13 May with an introduction by Paris, to be streamed live on Modekern's website.

“Drawing is my means of expression for interpreting fashion,” Paris has said. “Some people do it with words, others with photography – I do it with drawing.”

FC_modekern_pietparis_460x310.pngPiet Paris' interpretations of Jil Sander, published in Dutch L'Officiel (left), 2011, and Louis Vuitton, published in Dutch Vogue, 2013.

The Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem will host De kamers van Piet Paris. Mode-illustratie als ambacht (“Piet Paris’s Rooms: The Craft of Fashion Illustration”), an exhibition of the illustrator’s work, through Sunday 4 August. The show will spotlight Paris’s successful career with a special focus on his unique way of working and his design process. Paris’s archive, which he has donated to Modekern, will provide the bulk of the material for the exhibition.

De kamers van Piet Paris will examine Paris's characteristic way of working and key developments in his art through sketches, photographs and drawings. It will also show his special position in the Dutch and international fashion illustration arena. Old and new works will hang side by side in a playful exhibition designed by Paris himself.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a 128-page monograph on Piet Paris will be published in Dutch and English. Based on extensive archival research and interviews, it will be the eighth book in ArtEZ Press and the ArtEZ fashion lectureship’s series on designers and businesses that have played significant roles in the evolution of Dutch and international fashion.

Fashion course
Modekern has created a short Dutch-language course on fashion design for secondary and vocational pupils. It provides a general introduction before focusing specifically on Piet Paris. Course materials are available free on the Modekern website and easy to use in the classroom. Guided tours of the Paris exhibition will also be available for schools.

Archive highlights
Highlights from Paris’s archive will be displayed on Modekern's website from Sunday 12 May. The website will also describe Paris's working method and career. The Gelders Archief will eventually make Paris’s entire archive available online.

About Modekern
The fashion heritage institute Modekern collects, studies, exhibits and facilitates public access to the archives of internationally significant Dutch fashion designers in an effort to widen and deepen understanding of contemporary Dutch fashion history. Modekern is a joint project by ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, the Gelders Archief and Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, part of The New Institute. It avails itself of existing infrastructure rooted in each organisation’s strengths and expertise. Modekern receives support from the city of Arnhem and the province of Gelderland.

José Teunissen, the ArtEZ fashion lecturer and Premsela Governing Board member who conceived the idea for Modekern, says, "We’re working on a study of Dutch fashion history and identity called ‘Dutch Identity in a Globalized World’ with the University of Amsterdam, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and Radboud University Nijmegen, and we desperately need designers’ archives for that. Currently we have to go directly to the designers themselves. If Modekern manages the archives, that will save a lot of time, and the information will be readily available to researchers, students, pupils and others.”

Modekern designers
Piet Paris, Spijkers en Spijkers and Alexander van Slobbe – all crucial players in recent Dutch fashion history – have so far made their archives available to Modekern.

Piet Paris
After studying fashion design at art college in Arnhem, Pieter ’t Hoen – aka Piet Paris – went to work as a fashion illustrator. He makes his distinctive, clear line drawings by deriving stencils from sketches and filling in the stencilled shapes with bold colours. Paris’s long list of clients includes international magazines like Vogue and W, the design duo Viktor & Rolf, and the US luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue. Paris has designed postage stamps and a crockery line and thrice served as creative director for the Arnhem Mode Biënnale. He also works as a curator for the Arnhem fashion hotel ModeZ, set to open in August. Dutch Design Fashion Architecture has created a video profile of Paris.

Spijkers en Spijkers
The twins Riet and Truus Spijkers studied fashion design at ArtEZ’s predecessor art college. Driven by a search for formal perfection, they use bold lines and geometric shapes to create powerful, balanced pieces. Each Spijkers en Spijkers collection is inspired by a famous woman and based around a dress. The successful Arnhem-based brand, more than a decade old, recently gained a lower-priced companion line, SIS. Dutch Design Fashion Architecture has posted a video profile of the duo online.

Alexander van Slobbe
Alexander van Slobbe started the Orson & Bodil brand with Nannet van der Kleijn more than 20 years ago. In the 1990s, he founded the more commercial So, which became a hit in Japan. Seeking to work on a smaller scale and personally make clothes again, Van Slobbe closed So in 2003. He revived Orson + Bodil – changing the ampersand to a plus sign – and went back to designing pared-down “new luxury” garments. With his conceptual, minimalist style and constant use of new techniques, Van Slobbe creates new archetypes that endure in the fast-changing world of fashion. Dutch Design Fashion Architecture has posted a video profile of Van Slobbe.

Two looks from Spijkers en Spijkers for Autumn/Winter 2010-11. Photo: Alique.
Housing Fashion's Heritage
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