Antwerp Fashion Museum curator gets top job at Met


The curator of Antwerp’s Fashion Museum, Karen Van Godtsenhoven, has accepted the job of head curator at the Costume Institute in the Metropolitan Museum of New York

Antwerp museum to close for two years

Karen Van Godtsenhoven, the curator at Antwerp’s Fashion Museum (MoMu) has been hired as the head curator in the fashion division of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.

Van Godtsenhoven (pictured) has been in charge of curating at MoMu for eight years. She will now work as the curator at the Met’s Costume Institute, a collection of more than 35,000 pieces representing centuries of regional dress, fashion and accessories from five continents.

“It wasn’t an easy decision because I’m very happy in Antwerp,” Van Godtsenhoven told VRT. “But it would be pretty difficult to say no to an offer like this.”

The Met apparently contact Godtsenhoven to interview for the position. “There are  not very many top fashion museums in the world, and Antwerp is one of them. And of course Antwerp is a fashion capital.”

Aside from a permanent exhibition, the Institute’s collection is used in other temporary exhibitions and is available to researchers and designers by appointment. The Institute also comprises a costume conservation lab, a climate-controlled storage facility to house both its own and the Brooklyn Museum’s costume collection and a reference library.

Front row seat to Met Gala

“At the Met, the fashion division is part of the greater museum,” Van Godtsenhoven said, “so you work together with the other departments, like the Egyptian arts or with paintings. So the work there – much as we do in MoMu – will be incorporating fashion into other exhibitions.”

The Institute’s annual fundraiser, the Met Gala, is known worldwide for its celebrity A-list, during which the most sophisticated – and the most wacky – designs make an appearance.

The Met has three locations, but the main museum – where the Costume Institute is located – is on Fifth Avenue next to Central Park in Manhattan. Some seven million visitors a year visit the three locations.

The timing of Van Godtsenhoven’s departure works well for MoMu, which is closing next March for two years to undergo an extensive renovation.

Photo top: Courtesy Karen Van Godtsenhoven/Facebook
Photo above: Rihanna at this year’s Met Gala