Step Into The Mind Of A Singaporean Couture Designer At ACM’s Latest Exhibition

The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is gearing up to unveil its most monumental exhibition yet, paying tribute to the extraordinary fashion journey of Singapore’s very own prolific designer, Andrew Gn. Under the title “Andrew Gn: Fashioning Singapore and the World,” this awe-inspiring exhibition not only spotlights Gn’s remarkable accomplishments but also commemorates his significant contributions to the nation’s vibrant fashion scene.

Prepare to be enthralled as you wander through the exhibition’s five enchanting sections, where over 100 carefully curated works will transport you into the depths of Gn’s profound connection with Asia. Delve into the mesmerizing fusion of Asian and Western artistry evident in his creations, and witness firsthand the resounding global impact of the renowned House of Andrew Gn. By placing a strong emphasis on inclusivity and contemporary representations of both Asia and fashion, this exhibition seeks to ignite inspiration and uplift the aspiring designers of tomorrow, all while celebrating the immense talent within our local fashion landscape.

Yet, this exhibition is so much more than a mere display of couture craftsmanship. It holds a deeper, more profound significance that transcends the realm of fashion itself. In a world grappling with the distressing prevalence of Asian hate and discrimination, this showcase stands as a resolute symbol of inspiration. It proudly demonstrates how our rich Singaporean culture can be authentically expressed and celebrated, offering a beacon of hope and empowerment in the face of adversity.

Mr Kennie Ting, Director of Asian Civilisations Museum and Peranakan Museum, expressed his excitement about ACM’s foray into contemporary fashion and design, particularly in exploring Asia’s influence on the global fashion landscape. He emphasized that “For the first time, we are spotlighting a Singaporean fashion designer at the top of his game – we believe it is important to champion our own, and to tell young Singaporeans that we can succeed internationally in the creative fields. Andrew’s design philosophy blends east and west, beauty and comfort, innovation and tradition; and speaks directly to ACM’s curatorial focus on the heritage of cosmopolitan, cross-cultural, port cities in Asia.”

This remarkable exhibition pays tribute to Gn’s remarkable 28-year career by showcasing an exceptional and unprecedented gift of 160 works from his personal archives. By sharing his extensive archives with the museum and the public, Gn hopes to inspire individuals to embrace their roots and present contemporary fashion that celebrates the rich and diverse cultures and histories of Asia and beyond. 

In a heartfelt gesture, Gn made the decision to forgo the glitz and glamour of the prestigious Cannes Festival, opting instead to be present in Singapore for his exhibition. This choice speaks volumes about where his true allegiance lies — his heart has always remained firmly rooted at home. Despite residing in Paris, Gn’s unwavering connection to Singapore is undeniable. As Singaporeans, we should feel an overwhelming sense of pride for the remarkable journey Andrew Gn has embarked upon, starting from his humble beginnings as a young boy living in Hougang.

Gn’s designs have adorned influential women across the globe, from North America and Europe to Asia and the Middle East. Renowned personalities such as Emma Stone, Fan Bing Bing, Lady Gaga, and Queen Rania of Jordan, among others, have graced red carpets and royal catwalks wearing his luxurious ready-to-wear creations. Gn’s ability to empower influential women through fashion has become a hallmark of his illustrious career.

The exhibition also delves into Gn’s cross-cultural inspirations, showcasing his diverse influences from art, fashion, literature, film, and his Singaporean heritage. By blending Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, and Peranakan influences, Gn’s works pay homage to Singapore’s history as a vibrant cross-cultural port city. Visitors will witness the fusion of cultures and the resonance between Gn’s designs and objects in the ACM collection, such as Chinese porcelain, Indian textiles, Indonesian batiks, and Iznik ceramics.

Providing a glimpse into the designer’s mind and studio, the exhibition showcases Gn’s couture-like approach to quality and fabrication. Almost entirely designed in-house, his ready-to-wear creations exemplify exceptional artistry and craftsmanship. The Contemporary Gallery on Level One immerses visitors in the ambiance of Gn’s Parisian atelier, where he brings his designs to life and experiments with materials and techniques. This section of the exhibition is accessible to all ACM visitors, allowing them to appreciate the behind-the-scenes artistry.

ACM goes beyond traditional exhibitions by introducing an interactive experience called “Fashion Try-On.” Utilizing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, visitors can collect motifs, such as butterflies and corals, throughout the exhibition. These motifs can then be used to create personalized outfits at augmented reality kiosks in the Contemporary Gallery. Visitors can keep their self-designed outfits as printed and digital souvenirs, adding a touch of interactivity and personalization to their museum visit. Additionally, artist Koh Dawn’s multimedia display, “Take Flight,” brings Andrew Gn’s watercolor butterflies to life in the Level 2 Foyer.

To complement the exhibition, ACM has planned a series of family-friendly programs, guided tours, lectures, and weekend festivals. Notably, there will be a talk featuring Andrew Gn in conversation with Jackie Yoong, ACM’s Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles, and Circe Henestrosa, Fashion Curator and Head of the School of Fashion at LASALLE College of the Arts. These engaging events will provide further insight into Gn’s creative process and the significance of his work.

Mark your calendars, as “Andrew Gn: Fashioning Singapore and the World” opens its doors on May 27, 2023, and will run until September 17, 2023, at ACM. This unprecedented exhibition invites the public to rediscover and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of Andrew Gn, as he continues to shape Singapore’s fashion landscape and inspire the world with his artistic vision.

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