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New exhibition of Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius’s Nobel Gowns at Nationalmuseum

Press release   •   Mar 09, 2020 09:00 UTC

Photo: Anna Danielsson/Nationalmuseum

On March 26, an exhibition will open featuring the Nobel gowns that Pär Engsheden created for Sara Danius while she was Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy. They were developed in close collaboration, and each of them has its own story. The accessories worn with the gowns and photographs are also on display.

“Sara Danius is wearing the most courageous choice of the evening! An eye-popping cerise cape paired with a cognac-coloured gown. 25 metres of gorgeous silk taffeta were used for this Pär Engsheden creation”, reported Cia Jansson, Editor-in-Chief of the fashion magazine Elle during SVT's live broadcast from the Nobel Banquet in 2018.

Pär Engsheden is one of Sweden's foremost couture designers. Between 2015 and 2018 he created four notable dresses for Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy. The design process involved an unusually close collaboration between the couturier and the wearer of his creations. Their conversations about fashion, philosophy and literature spanned dinners, trips, letters and text messages, as well as countless fittings. With Danius as his muse, Engsheden created four unique dresses that each tell an individual story.

Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius’s Nobel Gowns offers the opportunity to view these iconic garments in real life, as well as the accessories that Danius wore with them and Carl Bengtsson's photographs of her wearing the dresses. The exhibition is part of an artistic research project that Pär Engsheden is conducting at Beckmans College of Design, where he has also headed the fashion programme since 2013.

The exhibition is produced in close collaboration with Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius and her family. It is based on Pär Engsheden's artistic research and is a collaboration with Beckmans College of Design, which will also jointly publish a book about the research in connection with a seminar to be held during the exhibition period. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Nationalmusei Vänner.

Thanks to the especially kind donation by Sara and Leo Danius of the gowns, with the support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the garments are included in Nationalmuseum's collections. Carl Bengtsson's photographs of Sara Danius wearing the gowns are also part of the museum collections, thanks to his generous donation.

Pär Engsheden and Sara Danius’s Nobel Gowns will be presented on the middle floor of Nationalmuseum from 26 March – 20 September 2020.

For more information
Hanna Tottmar, Head of press, press@nationalmuseum.se, 08-5195 4400

Nationalmuseum is Sweden’s museum of art and design. The collections include paintings, sculpture, drawings and graphic art from the 16th century up to the beginning of the 20th century and the collection of applied art and design up to the present day. The museum building closed for renovation in 2013 and reopened in autumn 2018. During 2019 the museum had almost 850 000 visits.