Hasselt Fashion Museum is one of the few museums in the Low Countries that is dedicated exclusively to clothing and fashion. The collection boasts approximately 18,000 garments and accessories which together tell the story of Western fashion from 1750 to the present day.
The history of this collection begins in the late 1980s, when the museum began acquiring objects to mark its official opening on 6 May 1988. The first major acquisition was the private collection of the Romanian scenographer and costume designer Andrei Ivaneanu in 1989. This collection included a wealth of fascinating period costumes, clothing and accessories from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the help of valuable donations and interesting purchases, the collection continues to grow to this day.
The eighteenth-century collection boasts fascinating gowns, including several sack-back gowns (robes à la française) and close-bodied gowns (robes à l'anglaise), as well as men's garments, such as dress suits (habits à la française) and a range of beautiful accessories. The nineteenth-century collection is more extensive and is characterised by several notable gowns and children's ensembles, elegant fans and shoes, and creations by the first couturiers who settled in Paris in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, such as Emile Pingat, Maison Lipman and Jacques Doucet.
Several iconic early twentieth-century garments include a coat by Maison Worth and a Delphos gown by Mariano Fortuny. The collection also includes a range of accessories and silhouettes from the 1920s. Chanel dresses, a Jeanne Lanvin robe de style and a Zimmermann ensemble are displayed alongside handbags, hats and shoes. The collection of men’s fashion becomes more extensive from the interwar period, which also includes a golf ensemble. This is displayed in addition to elegant evening gowns and coats by such designers as Elsa Schiaparelli.
The fashions of the Second World War period are also represented and range from dresses made from parachute fabric to the unique platform shoes by Roger Vivier. Elegant post-war fashion is represented by a 1948 Pondichéry cape with Maison Rébé embroidery by Christian Dior. The 1950s are represented by the creations of fashion houses such as Carven, Fath, Madame Grès and Balenciaga.
The fashion of the 1960s forms an important pillar of the collection. In addition to representative streetwear from this period, the collection also includes creations by innovative fashion designers such as Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, Emanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent and Emilio Pucci. Also featured in the collection are several women’s suits made famous by Coco Chanel's fashion comeback in the 1950s.
Several 1970s clothing styles are represented in the collection, ranging from the elegant eveningwear of Louis Féraud to the punk-inspired fashions of Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes, and from the innovative printing techniques of Roberto Cavalli to distinctive hippie dresses and disco clothes. The 1980s are embodied by the power-look designs of Karl Lagerfeld, Emanuel Ungaro and Thierry Mugler, the innovative Japanese silhouettes of Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Hanaï Mori, Kansai Yamamoto and Kenzo, and the Italian look of Versace and Armani.
The 1990s are characterised by the eye-catching designs of Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Lacroix, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Naturally, the Hasselt Fashion Museum collection also includes creations by several twenty-first-century designers such as Viktor & Rolf.
Belgian and Limburg designers
The museum pays special attention to the history of Belgian fashion. Early Belgian fashion history is represented by pieces from Maison Hirsch and Vaxelaire-Claes, fashion houses such as Liétart, Valens and Nathan, and the work of stylists like Jules François Crahay for Nina Ricci and France Andrevie for Laurent Vicci.
The collection also includes designs by Belgian couturiers with international allure, such as Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck, Veronique Branquinho, A.F. Vandevorst and Tim Van Steenbergen.
A focal point in the collection are creations by established Limburg designers such as Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Dirk Bikkembergs and Kyuso (Joke Houbrechts and Egidio Fauzia). The regional embeddedness is visible in the subcollection of couture clothing and accessories by Hasselt fashion boutiques from the past and present, such as Jeurissen, Moray and Huis Reekmans.
Discover the collection
We are currently working hard to make the entire collection searchable on our website. Until then, we suggest visiting the platforms below, on which many of the collection pieces can be found.
Discover the Hasselt Fashion Museum collection at Europeana Fashion
Discover the Hasselt Fashion Museum collection at Modemuze
Discover the Hasselt Fashion Museum collection at Erfgoedplus
Hasselt Fashion Museum art loan system
Hasselt Fashion Museum has an active outgoing loan system in place to make the collection accessible to a wider audience and to give the objects the opportunity to inspire and inform new audiences.
The conditions for loaning objects from Hasselt Fashion Museum can be found below. For more information or to submit a loan request, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hasselt Collection Team would be happy to assist you.
Outgoing Loan Agreement Hasselt Collection
Make a donation
If you would like to donate a collection item, please send an e-mail to email@example.com with a photo and a short description of the object. A collection employee will contact you as soon as possible.