We were invited by Centraal Museum Utrecht to design an exhibition covering the complete story of denim. It became the story of 350 years of denim history in a 100 meter long indigo timeline. A rich history including classic paintings from ‘The Master of the Blue Jeans’ and old sample books dating back to the 18th century, to the designs of Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela, Marithé + François Girbaud and Yves Saint Laurent – and one of the oldest Levi’s and Lee jeans to Momotaro, Atelier Tossijn, Naked & Famous and Rapha – it’s all there.
We’ve created a more than 100 meters long cabinet, starting like a loom in an almost black indigo colour, morphing to slate blue and finally ending in a bright white workshop. A three-dimensional timeline showing the rich history of 350 years of Blue Jeans. The exhibition is accompanied with a book we’ve designed together with Studio wilfredtimo.
“An iconic street symbol that can be found in almost every wardrobe: the blue jeans. Worn for more than 150 years, the garment holds an even more longstanding tradition. Still it has repeatedly proven to be modern and innovative. The Centraal Museum presents the first large-scale exhibition in the Netherlands on this unique material. Across various themes, the exhibition shows new work by renowned artists, combined with national and international loan pieces – showcasing both craftsmanship and innovative technology. The exhibition includes the traditional 19th century Levi’s for miners, Jurgen Bey’s window installation commissioned by Levi’s RED and Dutch design label Droog, as well as designs by Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela and Marithé + François Girbaud and Yves Saint Laurent. The exhibition is divided into a number of themes showing the experimental and creative side of jeans: from their origin as work wear in the 17th century, to high fashion in the 20th century, to modern-day jeans – including internationally renowned Dutch labels such as G-Star. Special attention is reserved for national and international subcultures, in which the jean is a product for the masses that expresses uniformity, but at the same time a most personal garment that reflects individuality. The exhibition also looks at the DNA of jeans: the materials, buttons, labels and their typical indigo blue colour. The highly polluting production process and current innovative sustainable alternatives, such as ‘zero water waste’ and ‘ozone’ treatments, are also part of the exhibition.”