The many different meanings and associations of the colour black make this one the best-loved colour in fashion. Mourning dress or elegant little black dress, romantic or rebellious, with a whiff of the avant-garde or of a subculture in the hands of Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Olivier Theyskens or Xavier Delcour : no colour has had such diverse connotations.
Taking as a starting point the dyeing of textiles black in Antwerp in the 16th century, Karen Van Godtsenhoven reviews the role of black in fashion and in costume history. The theme had been addressed in the exhibition ‘Masters of Black in fashion and costume’ held at the MoMu in 2010.
Karen Van Godtsenhoven is a fashion conservator, author and doctoral researcher at Ghent University. She has served as conservator at the MoMu in Antwerp and at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum.