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Looking With Your Hands

14 October 2021 to 9 January 2022

To celebrate The Hague Fashion Week, Escher in The Palace is organising the exhibition Looking With Your Hands, featuring fashion you can touch by Dutch-Curaçaoan designer Michelangelo Winklaar. Inspired by his visually impaired mother, Winklaar has developed an experimental exhibition in which he allows a wide audience, including blind and visually impaired visitors, to experience a fashion collection by touch as well. Whereas a fashion collection in a museum would ordinarily be not for touching, it is precisely the sense of touch that Winklaar is inviting the public to use.

The collection developed by Winklaar is an ode to his homeland, Curaçao. For these colourful garments, he draws inspiration from nature, with the distinctive yellow Kibrahacha tree as a centrepiece. Winklaar has chosen a variety of silhouettes, fabrics and techniques specially for the exhibition. Visitors will experience the weight of a heavy, rough sequin fabric, as well as the lightness of a tulle. A slender evening dress is alternated with the shapes of a voluminous, angular 80s blazer. Thus creating a wide array of sensations for everyone’s fingers to discover.

The work of Winklaar (1983, Willemstad) is characterised by feminine forms, a mix of textures and the use of crafts. Within the collection being exhibited, this is reflected in the use of spiral ribbing, high-quality embroidery and hand-painted flowers. Sustainability is also important to him—he likes to use what are deemed leftover materials from the textile industry. Winklaar draws inspiration for his garments from both the Dutch fashion scene and the colourful culture and nature of Curaçao.

Winklaar makes subtle references to the work of M.C. Escher and the Lange Voorhout Palace, the museum’s location. Hence the fashion looks feature nods to elements in Escher’s prints, such as order and chaos, metamorphosis and geometry. Winklaar also harks back to the fashion of the time of Queen Emma, the Queen Mother. The exhibition in the ballroom and green lounge of the museum is in line with Escher in The Palace’s mission to be actively inclusive for audiences that may be less inclined to visit a museum. It is not only blind and visually impaired visitors who will be able to enjoy Winklaar’s collection; sighted visitors, too, will get an opportunity to experience fashion in a whole new way.

Activities & accessibility

Escher in The Palace is organising two guided tours for the blind and visually impaired specially for the exhibition. On 20 November and 18 December from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m., the museum will open its doors before opening time to enable participants to experience Winklaar’s designs in peace and quiet. You can find more information here.

You can find more information about Michelangelo Winklaar on his website.