Manneken Pis, the symbol of Brussels, will on the 21st of October for the first time wear a costume donated by the Czech Republic. The costume has a contemporary cut but the fabric is a traditional indigo print that has been inscribed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List in 2018 – and thus is a tribute to both traditional craft and fashion design.
The ceremony of handing over of the costume will take place at the City Hall of Brussels on the 21st of October, 11 am, and will also commemorate the Czech national holiday. The Czech Republic will thus follow up on centuries-old tradition of handing over of costumes for Manneken Pis to the City of Brussels that was probably started by Louis XIV. “In the times when it is virtually impossible to celebrate national holidays with social or cultural events we want to offer at least a small reminder that cultural heritage is very much alive,” says the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Pavel Klucký.
The event is organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium and Czech Centre Brussels. The costume was designed by Alice Klouzková – a fashion designer, lecturer and curator that has been engaged for a long time with traditional crafts and their use in contemporary clothing. She also leads the Atelier of Fashion Design at the contemporary arts school Scholastika.
“Alice Klouzková works with indigo print with a great respect and knowledge of its long and unique tradition while applying it at the same time in contemporary fashion. The indigo print costume of Manneken Pis thus shows that in the Czech Republic, both crafts as well as contemporary fashion design are in a great form,” says Jitka Pánek Jurková, Director of Czech Centre Brussels.
Indigo print is an ancient technique of textile print that uses wooden forms and indigo, the resulting pattern is thus blue and white. In the Czech Republic, the technique has a long tradition, reaching a widespread popularity especially in the 19th century. Today, two workshops still guard the tradition – in Olešince and in Strážnice. In 2018, indigo print was added on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List following a joint nomination of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Hungary.
Manneken Pis has not yet received a costume from the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic will thus this year join other countries – such as the United States, Japan, France, etc. – who have already offered their costumes. The celebratory handover will take place on the Brussels City Hall on the 21st of October at 11 am and after that, the costume will be exhibited on the statue of Manneken Pis until 3 pm. It is a custom to dress Manneken Pis in the costume in the following years on the occasion of the state holidays of the respective country. This October will thus hopefully not be the last time when Manneken wears indigo print.