New Orleans Museum of Art, USA, 2018
In storytelling, archetypes exist as powerful figures that consolidate certain universal human traits. While fashion designers work in tactile media such as paper patterns and cloth rather than in the written word, they are nevertheless storytellers using symbols that carry valuable, non-verbal information. A Queen Within – Adorned Archetypes takes this insight as a fertile starting point from which to explore how contemporary fashion designers engage with seven female archetypes—each unique in her strengths, weaknesses and significance. These seven archetypes—Thespian, Mother Earth, Explorer, Magician, Enchantress, Sage, and Heroine—all stand as powerful wellsprings of creative inspiration, as well as opportunities for contemplating the relationship between dress, society, and our shared history.

An iconic archetype such as the Explorer is an innately rebellious figure, necessary for the progress of society. A Mother Earth figure grounds us to our origins and environment. In bringing his idiosyncratic visions to life, the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen imagined the woman who wore his clothing as a contemporary Enchantress, one he famously described as being “so fabulous you wouldn’t dare lay a hand on her.” Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport, on the other hand, is a natural born disruptor, blurring the boundaries between social class, gender, race and religion. Indeed, it is through the creation of conceptual collections, the construction of characters, and the use of symbols that fashion designers reflect not only who we are, but perhaps more importantly who we want to be.

A Queen Within highlights a broad range of designers—from the internationally famous to the currently emerging—resulting in a deep inquiry into the diverse nature of the feminine. Gowns, wigs, shoes, and photographs are presented in immersive environments rich in symbolism, inviting visitors to peer into the private worlds of the deeply powerful feminine figures.

Objects from the following designers and artists were exhibited: 69, Adidas, Alexander McQueen, Anrealage/Kunihiko Morinaga, Arvida Byström & Maja Malou Lyse, Ashish, Bea Szenfeld, Bourgeois Boheme, Carcel, Chan Luu, Charlie le Mindu, Chromat, Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao & Jimmy Day, Comme des Garçons, Cooper & Gorfer, Cutecircuit, Daan Roosegaarde, David Lachapelle, Diana Scherer, Fantich & Young, Gianfranco Ferré, Gucci, Gypsy Sport, Hassan Hajjaj, Herdentier, Hideki Seo, Iris van Herpen, Jalila Essaïdi, Joanne Petit-Frère, Jordan Askill, June Canedo, Keta Gutmane, Louise Linderoth, Maison Martin Margiela, courtesy of Maison Margiela, Maja Gunn, Maiko Takeda, Maïmouna Guerresi, Michael Drummond, Minna Palmqvist, MuSkin, Omar Victor Diop, Pam Hogg, Prada, Raúl De Nieves, Reformation, Rich Mnisi, Sandra Backlund, Serena Gili, Slow Factory, Tabitha Osler, this is Sweden, Tommy Hilfiger, Viktor&Rolf and Vivienne Westwood.