Haute Couture Exhibition – I am Black Velvet


Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well! This time I want to share my experience at the Design Museum Danmark, which I recently visited. I was lucky and caught the last day of the exhibition I am Black Velvet, which displays the works and describes the life of the famous haute couture designer Erik Mortensen.

One of the impressive works of Erik Mortensen at Balmain.

Let me start out by asking you: Which color is your favorite? Do you think you like white, red or blue the most? Could you say that your favorite is black? Few people would probably admit to black as their first choice. Yet we all probably have several black T-shirts, black skirts, black jackets in our wardrobe, so what is it about the black color?

I want to tell you that I like black very much. It is of course a foolproof color – easy match with other clothes, but I also like to think of it as a sophisticated color, which if worn right can represent everything from quietness, mystery and nobility to evil and aggressiveness.

We often hear in various magazines, media, and life. When we see topics about fashion, many people love fashion, and one more dream is: When a fashion designer, then my blog post topic is About the advanced black in the fashion industry

A long time ago, the fashion industry had such an excellent designer of haute couture clothing. He was obsessed with designing black clothes throughout his life. Well, this exquisite haute couture designer, Erik Mortensen, who knows today may help us. Understand the historical background and value of advanced apparel customization.

Haute Couture designer Erik Mortensen

Recently I deliberately went to the Danish Design Museum and read about it. Erik Mortensen’s exhibition, as well as advanced custom clothing techniques, historical and cultural exhibitions. I finally decided to write this article to share with everyone, my language expression and writing skills are not very good so please bear with me a bit.

Erik Mortensen is the closest Denmark to the fashion world in Paris. At the age of 16, he traveled from North Jutland to Copenhagen, where he learned from one of the most renowned Danish fashion creators, Holger Blom. As a 22-year-old, the trip went to Paris, where he focused on working for the haute couture fashion house Pierre Balmain.

The dream came true and a haute couture adventure began in 1947, when young Erik Mortensen became a student at Pierre Balmain. In 1951, he became Balmain’s first assistant, and in 1982 he took over the post as chief designer after his death.





Wedding dress with a slightly gathered skirt in cream-colored silk satin with a draped sash. Large puffed sleeves held in two places and at the wrist, with plaited ribbons embroidered with pearls. Decorated with pleated flounces in silk taffeta at the neckline and the plaited ribbons on each sleeve.

This wedding dress was a gift from Erik Mortensen to his niece Karen Elizabeth. It was sewn in 1982 at Balmain.


Black and Sophisticated

Erik Mortensen’s sophisticated and not least passionate approach to design, his many collections are the best proof. In the time as chief designer at Pierre Balmain, Erik Mortensen achieved not only great recognition from his customers – he was also honored by colleagues in the industry. Three times he received what corresponds to the fashion industry’s Oscar, the prestigious Le Dé d’Or (also called The Golden Thimble).

“The little black dress” is a concept in fashion history. Its ‘invention’ is ascribed to several of the most forward-looking French fashion couturiers of the 1920s. Most notably Coco Chanel (1883-1971) and Jean Patou (1880-1936).

A ‘little black dress’ is a cocktail or evening dress that is short, informal and all-round useful. The little black dress was the sure choice in times of hardship, for instance during World War II, when virtually all materials were scarce in most European countries. Erik Mortensen loved black fabrics of every kind, so the little black dress became one of his favorite formats. Particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he created a whole string of lovey little black dresses for his collections.


Haute couture dresses exhibited at Design Museum Danmark.



Let’s tale a look at a selection of Erik Mortensen’s sketches

Erik Mortensen was born April 26, 1926 in Frederikshavn. He moves to Copenhagen at the age of 16, where he learns from the fashion designer Holger Blom.

When Pierre Balmain dies in 1982, Erik Mortensen takes over the role of chief designer and continues the legacy while adding his own style and designs a total of 17 haute couture collections as head designer at Balmain.

Erik Mortensen ends with Pierre Balmain in 1990 and is appointed chief designer of Jean-Louis Scherrer in 1992. He designs 4 collections in the period 1992-95.

Erik Mortensen dies in Paris on June 23, 1998.

The following content is about advanced clothing custom craftsmanship and historical background

Dresses exhibited at Design Museum Danmark. One of the dresses exhibited at Design Museum Danmark.

One of the dresses exhibited at Design Museum Danmark.Shoes displayed at Design Museum Denmark

If you liked this post about haute couture, you can consider checking my post about the National Museum of Denmark also.

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