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Prinsessekjoler 2024 | Koldinghus

Photo: Rigmor Mydtskov

Princess Dresses

Fashion designer Jørgen Bender’s creations for HRH Princess Benedikte

25 April – 1 September 2024

In 2024, the Ballroom at Koldinghus is transformed into a spectacular display of royal gala gowns created by Jørgen Bender (1938–1999) for HRH Princess Benedikte, honorary patron of Koldinghus. Bender was the principal dressmaker for the Royal House of Denmark. Over four decades of varying fashion trends, he designed and sewed dresses for HRH Princess Benedikte as well as for the Princess’s mother and sisters: Queen Ingrid, HM Queen Margrethe and HM Queen Anne-Marie.

A royal dress is typically created for a specific occasion and in close collaboration with the wearer. Thus, the exhibition at Koldinghus reflects the close bond between the fashion designer and The Princess for whom dressmaker Jørgen Bender created so many gowns.

The exhibition marks HRH Princess Benedikte’s 80th birthday in 2024. With its grandiose presentation of more than 20 beautiful dresses, it is also a reflection of the Princess’s many years of service. ‘PRINCESS DRESSES’ is not just a celebration of The Princess’s milestone birthday but is also a creative tribute to Jørgen Bender, who felt his artistic calling from a young age. At just 14 years of age, he began as an apprentice in the legendary fashion designer Holger Blom’s salon in Copenhagen, which he took over after Blom’s death in 1965.

Classic haute couture virtues define Jørgen Bender’s designs, which combine rich imagination and tradition and were created in close dialogue with his royal clients. Most of the dresses were made for special occasions, and Princess Benedikte often had Bender alter and modify existing designs so they could make a new appearance at a different event.

The exhibition presents more than 20 dresses, including birthday dresses, a silver wedding anniversary dress and various evening gowns in exclusive fabrics as well as a maternity dress and The Princess’s magnificent wedding gown. In addition to offering a stunning presentation of Jørgen Bender’s aesthetic and beautifully detailed craftsmanship, the exhibition also provides a sweeping view of four decades of fashion history, as it includes dresses created from 1968 to 1999.

A smaller version of the exhibition was shown at the Amalienborg Museum in 2020. In the current presentation at Koldinghus, the dresses are staged in a new setting, which also features interviews with The Princess herself. In addition, the selection includes two recent spectacular designs created by Johnny Wichmann of Wichmann Couture in reflection of The Princess’s continued dedication to design and crafts after Bender’s death. The Princess wore one of these dresses for her 75th birthday in 2019 and the other for the celebration of HRH Crown Prince Christian’s 18th birthday in 2023.

Buy your ticket for the museum here.