One of the most interesting features of fashion is its geographical specificity, which leads to the privileged ability fashion has to gather and represent national identities. In 2005, the exhibition Stretching Boundaries, Fashion and Beyond presented in Paris and New York, had exactly this aim: showcase the peculiarities and characters of the contemporary Dutch fashions scene.
Opened on 3rd May 2005 at the gallery Passage du Désir, and repurposed in New York the following September at the Diane Von Furstenberg Gallery, the exhibition was curated by Angelique Westerhof; it featured the work of an array of different professionals:Bas Kosters, Cees Krijnen, Corné Gabriels, Esther Loonen, Fleur van Maarschalkerwaart, Freudenthal Verhagen, Jan Taminiau, Jeroen van Tuyl, Martine van ‘t Hul, Niels Klavers, Oscar Suleyman, Peter Jeroense, Piet Paris, Rob Ponsen, Wojtek Dziedzic. Each of them with a specific aesthetic, their inner diversity really stretched the boundaries on the very definition of dutch fashion, reflecting on its various forms and key features.
The exhibition took the form of a path in which video installations, paintings, 3D art projects, graphic interventions were organised in order to represent, in an heterogeneous but coherent way, the very meaning of contemporary dutch fashion, from the view of its makers. Fashion is both the subject and the object of this experimental exploration, and each designer was asked to produce something that could speak of their own take on dress, most of the times going beyond the boundaries of fashion itself.
The decision to install the exhibition first in paris and then in New York was another way of crossing the boundaries, this time geographical ones, by proposing to an international audience the national specificities of Dutch fashion. This aligned with the agenda of the organiser of the exhibition, which was one of the outputs of The Dutch Touch. The Dutch Touch is a campaign active since 2001, whose role is to showcase Dutch fashion within the international context of fairs and trade shows. It is a project of the Dutch Fashion Foundation, an organisation working on the construction and dissemination of the economic and cultural role of Dutch fashion on a national and international level. The foundation strengthens the network of Dutch fashion, gathering designers and other creatives, as artists, photographers, image makers and graphic designers.