Missing out on New York Fashion Week? Step into the latest exhibition 'Catwalk' at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and enjoy their front row seats instead!

As of this week, six galleries of the Philips Wing will be dedicated to fashion of the Dutch from 1625 to 1960. Starting with garments worn by members of the Frisian branch of the house of Nassau in the Golden Age, the exhibition will feature vibrantly coloured French silk gowns and luxurious velvet gentlemen’s suits of the eighteenth century, classically-inspired Empire dresses and bustles of the Fin de Siècleculminating in twentieth-century French haute couture by Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. The best part is the moving runway where you can take a seat and enjoy over 20 fashion wonders of the 20th century.

Rijksmuseum Curator of Costumes Bianca du Mortier explains: “The garments presented in this exhibition reflect the stories of the people who wore them. In fashion, the choices of the wearer count – they make him or her a trendsetter or a follower. Even today the clothes of the very rich and powerful always convey a conscious or unconscious message. In that respect, nothing has changed over the last 330 years. These choices are restricted by such factors as budget, opportunity, age, social status, climate, personal likes and dislikes and so forth. And when presented in a museum, there is a final selection: the selection of the Rijksmuseum.”

The exhibition was designed by world-renowned Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf (see his photograph of top model Ymre Stiekema in a wedding dress from 1759 in the header).

According to Erwin Olaf: “The challenge and honour of designing this exhibition, Catwalk, for the most extraordinary museum in the Netherlands came at exactly the right moment for me. For several years now I’ve been exploring alternative ways to present my photographic work and to integrate it in installations, sound, video and films as means to immerse viewers in a world that fires and challenges their personal imaginations and, ultimately, sparks a stimulating dialogue between the viewer and the work on view."

Step into the history of fashion and feast your eyes on: A unique pair of underpants belonging to Hendrik Casimir I, Count of Nassau Dietz (1612-1640), Helena Slicher’s (1737-1776) wedding gown (the widest dress in the Netherlands) and of course the Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent presented as the holy grail of the exhibition.

Make sure to check out the VanGoghle highlights on the map below!

Catwalk. Fashion at the Rijksmuseum: 20 February through 16 May 2016

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