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A day at the Fashion Festival strike a pose

What do fashion and art have to do with each other? Everything! That’s exactly what the first edition of the festival strike a pose showed, taking place in Düsseldorf from 23 – 25 July 2021.

This is why today we take you on a tour of Düsseldorf’s creative quarters, their numerous galleries and the highlights of the first festival at the interface between art, fashion and style.

modern art meets patchwork blankets

The doors of the K21 open to reveal an unusual sight: a museum foyer full of clothes. Wonderfully draped fabrics wrapped around modern works of art, catwalk models loll on brightly coloured patchwork blankets and one gossamer designer piece hangs next to the other on clothes rails. Above them towers the walk-in installation in orbit by Tomás Saraceno, which can currently (and finally) be visited again.

And that’s exactly what strike a pose is about: a festival that couldn’t be better suited to the fashion city of Düsseldorf. The city that is at least as famous for its fashion as for its internationally recognised art scene and its excellent art academies.

Selected presentations by both renowned and up-and-coming artists are displayed on the Piazza of the K21. They all slowly come to life on the first day of the exhibition through performances, built-in video screens and fashion shows that simply happen in the middle of the astonished festival audience. There are, for example, the timeless, rough and at the same time delicate designs of the Düsseldorf designer Marion Strehlow, who has been a permanent fixture on the national and international fashion scene since 2000. Her models look sternly into the audience, but rather into the void and seem to stand above the people who pause to observe silently.

strehlow beim strike a pose Festival in Düsseldorf

recording intimacy

On the other side of the room, the eye is presented with a peculiar spectacle: countless cameras and microphones are mounted on a metal bed. Underneath the bed one recognizes tape recordings and half-unrolled films. The bed, actually a place of peace, privacy and intimacy, resembles a surveillance state. An iPad is draped on the sheets; it shows a sensual-looking video of the lingerie label opaak. Here, the fusion of artist Julia Scher’s artistic installation with delicate lingerie and sensuality is revealed and at the same time opens up a critical view of our contemporary society between self-dramatisation and exploitation.

Julia Scher und opaak beim strike a pose Festival in Düsseldorf

intriguing symbioses

But strike a pose does not only take place in the K21 – throughout Düsseldorf, galleries exhibit unique collaborations with fashion designers; intriguing symbioses between art and fashion. We stroll along Birkenstraße and take a look at the basedonart gallery, where the avant-garde designs of designer Miaki Komuro, in which Japanese and Western influences merge, are combined with the artistic works of Hanae Utamura: Circle after circle her protagonists draw in the sand, in abandoned places around the world and synchronise nature, art and technology. Circles also form Komuro’s designs and build a strong bond with the photographs on the opposite wall.

eggs and shibori

A little further on, in Petra Rinck’s gallery, you can marvel at the designs of Hiroyuki Murase, who has been refining high-quality fabrics with the traditional, almost forgotten shibori technique under his label Suzusan since 2008, turning them into unique pieces. The new designs – created for the festival strike a pose – enter into a lisaison with Ralf Brög’s exhibition “Kurven Eier Blasen” (Curves Eggs Bubbles), in which he combines sculptures, drawings, pictures (pictorial spaces) that interact on various levels.

Suzusan und Ralf Brög in der Petra Rinck Galerie Düsseldorf

printing sculptures

On Ackerstraße, at Van Horn, you will find the polarising designs of designer Mario Keine. This year he founded his new label under the name Marke, which balances the border areas of the production of textiles, jewellery, accessories and interior and dissolves gender boundaries. strike a pose sets the starting signal for the label and shows link chains fresh from the 3D printer, which at first glance look like bones, but at a second, closer look like phallic symbols. A sculpture by Manuel Graf, also conceived for the festival, takes aim at the unusual pieces of jewellery and builds up a tension in the space that is almost unbearable: the over-concentration of masculinity questions patriarchal structures and opens up a contemporary critical view of gender norms.

strike a pose shows what the fashion city of Düsseldorf is capable of: Cross-genre collaborations between fashion and art reveal the potential of the local creative scene and its radiance to the outside world. Why not take a stroll through the neighbourhoods yourself and get inspired by the numerous galleries? Or pay a visit to small boutiques and up-and-coming designer labels instead of big chains?

If you feel like a creative stroll through the city, take a look: many of the projects can still be admired after strike a pose.

Text & photos: Laura Vennes