Curated by Vogue Germany’s editor in chief Christiane Arp, artist Martin Fengel and the museum’s director Michael Buhrs, the anniversary exhibition — which is themed “Ist das Mode oder kann das weg!?” (“Is this fashion or can it be ditched!?”) — is a survey of the magazine’s extended cosmos.
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Spanning two floors and nine rooms in the historic mansion of sculptor Franz Stuck, the exhibition opens with famous photos from the magazine’s archives, juxtaposed with costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela and Thom Browne, and contextualized with records of political and social events of the past 40 years.
“It’s going beyond a journey through 40 years of Vogue, as we wanted to present fashion in a broader context as a mirror of social developments and highlight the connections between what happened in the world and how it reflected in the works of the designers,” Arp told WWD.
Photographer Juergen Teller, who has been a close collaborator, presents works about contemporary Germany, while a room with 70 photo assemblages by Ugo Rondinone from his series “I don’t live here anymore” turns an ironic blink toward fashion.
Celebrating Karl Lagerfeld, the exhibition also features a capsule with his works for German Vogue, as well as a dress from his last couture collection for Chanel and the yellow coat that in 1954 won him the Woolmark Prize, along with Yves Saint Laurent, and launched his career — although the latter is a replica commissioned by Amanda Harlech with the production overseen by Lagerfeld himself for his 2015 exhibition at Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn (the original coat doesn’t exist any longer). The replica is now part of MKG, the museum of applied art in Lagerfeld’s hometown of Hamburg.
A studio setup with scrapbooks, artwork folders and an actual still-life production for an upcoming issue gives further insight into the making of the magazine, while installations by artist Alice Potts and designer Priya Ahluwalia address the issue of sustainability. Closing with an outlook on the future of fashion, the exhibition wraps up with experimental works by students of the Fashion and Technology program at the University of Art and Design Linz.
“Looking back at four decades, I think that Vogue Germany has contributed significantly to raising awareness for fashion. The attention for fashion in this country has grown, and showing a haute couture dress the way we do in this exhibition makes it even more accessible and emotional,” said Arp, who has directed the magazine since 2003.
That said, she might hint at the major restructurings at Condé Nast Germany. After Jessica Peppel-Schulz took over as the division’s chief executive officer earlier this year, the company unveiled a shift in strategy. Earlier this month, 15 positions were cut in order to focus on new investments. While print editions generate 80 percent of the company’s revenues, Peppel-Schulz plans for events, products and services to account for the bulk of sales within the next five years, including brand and content development offered by the new CNX consulting branch. As part of the strategy, the monthly publications GQ and Glamour will be reduced to 10 issues a year. Vogue now is the company’s only title to be published monthly in Germany.
“We want to make what we do more tangible, but we’ve just announced the new outlook. We will set up the teams and start on the execution next year,” Arp told WWD.
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