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Moda Polska Poised for a Comeback04.10.2018

Jerzy Antkowiak is one of the most important fashion designers in Polish history. The widely renowned fashion stylist and former Design Director of Moda Polska [Polish Fashion] was responsible for the strategic development of the domestic fashion industry and introduced many an innovation onto the local fashion scene.

Initially a small state-run enterprise, Moda Polska eventually became an industry unto itself. Soon after its launch in 1958, Moda Polska had a staff of 60 designers and a number of runway models who, for many, embodied the dream of French couture.

The institution is noteworthy not only because it was the first to introduce a measure of chic into the dreary realities of the Polish People’s Republic, but also because it became an unlikely witness of Poland’s systemic transformation. Prior to 1989, the company was often associated with the younger, more democratic elements in the state because it skillfully used its brand image to undermine the regime’s rules. Moda Polska’s designers resisted the ubiquitous drabness and blandness of life under Communist rule by promoting Western fashion and rising above the dreary realities of the Polish People’s Republic.

The success of the brand and its comprehensive idea of individuality would not have been possible without Jerzy Antkowiak. He continued to develop the company’s vision and was responsible for its decidedly European inspirations. Antkowiak’s career at Moda Polska spanned three decades, from 1967 to 1997.

The Jerzy Antkowiak and Moda Polska exhibition is the first to offer such a comprehensive presentation of the designs and fashions created by the venerable fashion house. All of the exhibits on display have been located by Tomasz Ossoliński in Antkowiak’s basement. The outfits, memorabilia, accessories, and illustrations featured at the exhibition will serve as starting point for a broader reflection on fashion in the Polish People’s Republic and a metaphor for the profound transformation of Polish society.

The exhibition will be held from October 6 to March 17 at the Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź.

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