CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

“Accessorize…!” Rijksmuseum’s First Web Exhibition

On 20-21 January, the Rijksmuseum is launching its first web exhibition. It will display 250 of the best objects in the fashion accessory collection, from 1550 to 1950. The launching will be held at the Modefabriek (Fashion Factory) trade fair at the RAI, Amsterdam, on the 20th and 21st of January 2008.


Museum press release

From 20 January 2008, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam invites you to visit its web exhibition on, comprising 250 masterpieces from the museum’s fashion accessory collection. The web special will display accessories such as gloves, bags, shoes, cashmere scarves, hats and glasses, as well as antique pieces including fans, parasols, skirt lifters, shoe-buckles and bouquet holders. Offering a diverse overview of accessories crafted over the last few centuries, the digital exhibition will include pieces made of a wide range of materials such as mother-of-pearl, ivory, silk, gold, tortoise-shell, bamboo, narwhal tusk and silver, which originate from all corners of the world. The opening at the Modefabriek trade fair was made possible by ING.

One of the goals of the web exhibition is to draw attention to an ongoing Rijksmuseum project involving adding images and descriptions of all 5,000 fashion accessories in the museum’s collection, one by one, to the Rijksmuseum website.

Cristina Garcia Martin and Joost van Grinsven’s design for the accessory styling was inspired by fashion photography. The contrast created by lighting up the objects against a shiny black background not only brings out their luxurious, classy and exclusive character, but also makes it possible to see the bottom or top of the objects, which would otherwise often remain invisible.

To browse the images, all you have to do is enter a search query in the form of an accessory type, material, colour, or period. You can also view a number of animations, and there is also more detailed information available on particular subjects and pieces, should you have a special interest in a certain area. Virtual visitors can also learn more about each object by viewing the expanded explanations and period images, which show how the accessories were worn. These images were also taken mainly from the Rijkmuseum’s collection and include paintings, prints, drawings, jewellery and historical objects.


For centuries, accessories have played an important part in fashion trends. While many accessories originally served a practical purpose (just as shoes keep your feet warm and dry, an umbrella protects you from the rain, glasses improve your vision and a walking stick provides support), people have always felt the need to decorate themselves and their clothing. In many cases, as the ornamentation became increasingly excessive, what started as a functional object turned into a status symbol, particularly if valuable and exotic materials and designs were employed in its making.


Opening at the Modefabriek, 20 and 21 January 2008

On 20 and 21 January, a special presentation will be given in the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre during the Modefabriek trade fair to open the web exhibition. Marking the beginning of Amsterdam International Fashion Week, the Modefabriek trade fair for fashion professionals is held twice a year and features the latest crop of Dutch fashion and lifestyle designers, alongside well-established Dutch and foreign designers in the field.


 Previous work by Cristina Garcia Martin and Joost van Grinsven includes designs for broadcasting company VPRO (Beperkt houdbaar, Villa Achterwerk), Museum de Fundatie, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds fund, Elle magazine and Cora Kemperman.