Our partner MUDE talks to renowned Portuguese fashion designer José António Tenente about his curatorial work at the museum, his work with the museum’s collection and his views on the Europeana Fashion project.
In 2010, under Creative Lab, you were invited to make an exhibition at MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda, Colecção Francisco Capelo, Assinado por Tenente which showed your creative process. You took the role of the curator putting side by side emblematic garments of fashion history, belonging to the museum’s collection, and your own work. How was the experience of designing the exhibition?
The ‘curatorial’ work was the result of my proposal to present my creative process starting from the museum’s collection. Since the first visit to the museum’s reserve collections, it was clear that my selection could organize a thematic display alongside with the mainlines of my work. More than an objective choice, guided by criteria of historical importance or cover the wide range of the collection, my choice was always very emotional. Actually, I realized soon that the selected items were intimately connected to my imagination and therefore with my work. And so the exhibition took shape from reason, representing the cutting and the construction; emotion, representing the more theatrical spirit; devotion, for the details and minutiae and passion symbolizing colourr. Four themes equally important in my work, and that may represent the fundamental characteristics of ‘my signature’. The exhibition turned out to be an exercise that ‘forced’ me to think and rationalize about my creative process with distance and objectivity.
Which designers and items represented in MUDE’s collection are an inspiration for you and why?
The exhibition held at MUDE gave me the opportunity to know the collection very well. Beyond the highlights, It was a privilege to meet designers that I did not know so well or did not know at all … However, the highlights are unavoidable: Balenciaga and Dior of the 1950s and 1960s are extraordinary in cut, shape and volume, representing the feminine elegance of that era. Other times and languages, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto, are well represented in the collection with very significant items that mirror their creative identities.
How would you rate the fashion collection of MUDE- Museu do Design e da Moda, Colecção Francisco Capelo?
Very good indeed. It spans a vast range of fashion designers covering several decades of the XXth century, from the late 1930s, with a particular focus on the French creativity or made in France, such as Belgian and Japanese designers that presented their collections in Paris. The collection is strong in historical items but also in contemporary fashion. It is a very lively and interesting collection that has been presented to the public in a very dynamic display.
MUDE is a partner in the Europeana Fashion Project. How do you see this partnership and the importance it may have in the future for the dissemination and promotion of the Portuguese fashion abroad?
It will certainly be a privileged platform to present the collection internationally and obviously also to Promote the portuguese fashion designers represented in MUDE’s collection. To the public, and specially to the fashion professionals, it will be an asset to have online access to the collection, which allows to study, to plan visits to the museum, etc…
BIO JOSÉ ANTÓNIO TENENTE
José António Tenente was born in Cascais in 1966. He began by studying Architecture, which he dropped out of to take the Fashion Design course at Citem. At the end of the 1990s, he opened his first shop in Largo do Carmo, Lisbon. Besides clothes, his brand universe extends to a variety of projects such as glasses and perfumes, among others. Throughout his career he has received countless awards and is one of the obligatory names when one speaks of Portuguese fashion, due to his consistent evolution and work.
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