European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Meeting Fashion Heritage: Muzealne Mody Collection

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Curator and fashion historian Piotr Szaradowski unveils Muzealne Mody: a Polish collection with the great potential to enrich our understanding of European fashion.

The Muzealne Mody collection is a small study collection based in Poland. It was started ten years ago as a private collection by the Polish fashion historian and curator Piotr Szaradowski. Currently, the collection is in the process of changing its status into that of a foundation.

The main goals of the foundation – apart from preserving and enriching the collection itself – will be education in the field of fashion history and the display of clothing within exhibition spaces.

The collection is dominated by French fashion, mostly from the second half of the twentieth century, but the collection includes objects from the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries as well. The context of haute couture can be read as foreign in Poland, but its inclusion in this collection brings it closer and makes it more relevant and understandable.

The collection consists of three main groups of objects: above all there are clothes – mainly daily or afternoon wear with a small addition of evening wear; the second group is a set of press photos, especially from 1950s-1980s, which, unfortunately due to legal restrictions, cannot be made available online; the last part of the collection is devoted to various types of graphic material, which help build context for the other items in the collection.

At the moment, there is no permanent exhibition space for the collection; however, since the early days of its inception the collection has been regularly shown thanks to cooperation with European museums and galleries. The exhibitions to which parts of the collection participated in recent years have taken place at Culture Centre Zamek in Poznań, Centralne Muzeum Włókiennictwa w Łodzi, Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń, The Castle Museum in Pszczyna.

The future of the collection is establishing its own permanent exhibition space and new storage facility which will help the collection to grow. The research and study emphasis of the collection makes it ideal for educational purposes and different kinds of collaborations.