Fetishism in Fashion
at MoBA 2013

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Trend forcaster Li Edelkoort shows there is more to fetishism than just bondage with garments displayed at this year's MoBA 2013 fashion biennale in Arnhem, the Netherlands (+ slideshow).

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Li Edelkoort curated the Fetishism in Fashion theme for this year's biennale after observing the expression of deep inner desires through clothing and accessories, which goes far beyond S&M.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

"There is a moment in fashion where there is this super need to be very fetishistic," Edelkoort told Dezeen. "There is animalism, there are children’s behaviours, there is of course bondage, there is lace, there is fur, feathers and so on."

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Edelkoort co-curator Philip Fimmano told us: "[Li noticed that] we're all born with kinds of fetishes and have a need for belonging and bondage from birth. It's not just about fashion design, it's about a movement that's happening in society."

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

"We tried to explore the extent of where fetishism can take us, changing from the sexual side to the shamanistic side," he added.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

The main exhibit covers 13 different types of fetishes using work by 300 designers from around the world, such as a series of tusks, horns and spines for the body by Ana Rajcevic.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Among the eight shows, Elevated is a showcase of high-heeled, platform and other raised shoe designs that looks at obsessions with gaining height. It includes a collection of shoes that undergo physical transformations by Benjamin John Hall.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Another exhibition called Fascination focusses on the secret side of men's lives and how they collect accessories such as ties, underwear, shoes and scents.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Monsters created from fake fur are on show at a local zoo, forming an exhibition designed for children: "This is really to explore the way we are getting closer to nature and animals and that we want to animate garments with little ears or tails," Fimmano said.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Elsewhere, the history of the apron is charted from humble utility roots to its place in so many of today's sexual fantasies.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

"We wanted to explore how the apron is an archetypical fetish garment, something that's been around since Adam and Eve," said Fimmano. "It's of course a carrier for lots of different fantasies, whether it be the maid, the waitress, the worker or the farmer."

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

All the biennale volunteers are dressed in aprons and visitors on 7 July received free entry if they wore one too.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

Fimmano spoke to Dezeen about the reaction from event visitors and how their perception of fetishism changed: "A lot of people have the misconception that the word 'fetishism' is just linked to the sexual side," he said. "I think it was surprising for a lot of visitors that it had so many different aspects such as childhood memories, nomadism, regional identity." The biennale continues across Arnhem until 21 July.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

The curators have created a book to accompany the event and we are currently running a competition to give away five copies, which ends on 16 July.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

More fashion exhibitions open over this summer include 1980s club wear on show at London's V&A museum and a collection of garments by Iris van Herpen displayed in Calais.

Fetishism in Fashion MoBA 2013

All images show designs on display at the event.

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  • Omikey

    Clowns and these people frighten me.

  • amsam

    A lot of interesting notions. When experimental fashion flirts just right with body modification, it gets really creepily awesome.