The Dutch fashion world’s highest honour is being awarded to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag after the jury for this year’s “Grand Seigneur” voted unanimously for the museum. The news was announced by the MODINT trade association for the Dutch fashion, interior design, carpet and textile world. The prize (a sculpture by artist Wendela Gevers Deynoot) will be presented at a ceremony to be held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag on Thursday 4 February.
The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag joins an impressive list of prize-winners that includes Viktor & Rolf, Lidewij Edelkoort, fashion illustrator Piet Paris, fashion writer Fiona Hering, footwear designer Jan Jansen, Marlies Dekkers, G-Star Raw, Claudia Sträter, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. The previous Grand Seigneur went to fashion designer Jan Taminiau in 2014.
Jury chairman and MODINT president Han Bekke says that the award is in recognition of the Gemeentemuseum’s work on creating marvellous exhibitions designed to place fashion in a historical perspective and promote public interest in it over many years. Among the exhibitions he recalls are Frans Molenaar (1986), Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn (1988), Madeleine Vionnet (1999), Hollywood Costumes (1999), Fashion NL (2006), Hague Court Fashions (2007), The Ideal Man (2008), Haute Couture (2010), Fashion and Art (2011), Fabulous Fifties (2012), Chanel (2013), Romantic Fashions (2014) and the current show, Ode to Dutch Fashion, which runs until 7 February. Since 2006, the art direction of the museum’s fashion exhibitions has been in the hands of Maarten Spruyt and Tsur Reshef.
The jury also praised the part played by the museum in safeguarding this aspect of cultural heritage by continuing to acquire items to expand its already extensive fashion collection. In this connection, it particularly emphasised the role of the museum’s present fashion curator Madelief Hohé and her predecessor, Ietse Meij.
Museum director Benno Tempel is delighted at the award. “As a country, the Netherlands has become a real focus of fashion interest. Our fashion designers attract a huge amount of international respect. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag possesses one of the greatest fashion collections in the world and is proud to use it to create major annual fashion exhibitions designed for the general public in this country, but with an international impact.”
The Grand Seigneur award was launched in 1984 to reward people, companies or institutions whose actions, performance and/or charisma have helped to promote understanding of fashion and clothing. The aim is not to recognize passing crazes in the attire of particular social groups or to identify and reward eye-catching trends. It is to focus attention on individuals or organisations shown to have made a clear and preferably universally recognized contribution to consumer fashion consciousness and understanding over a prolonged period of time.