Circus Fashion Knie

One hundred years of costumes in the Textilmuseum

Captivating circus! This exhibition presents spectacular costumes from the beginning of the last century to today. Illustrating one hundred years of circus history, the magnificent garments held by the Knie family are both practical workwear and highly fashionable. Breathtaking acrobatics, awe-inspiring animal acts and clowns larking about at the edge of the ring are turned into a magical feat for the senses through imaginative and inventive costumes and accessories.

In the early days of the Circus Knie, spangle-covered garments adorned the artistes who toured from one village green to the next to perform under the stars. Beneath the roof of the tent – the circus acquired its first chapiteau in 1919 – the splendid costumes of the artistes likewise form an essential part of the mise-en-scène, giving clown, magician, animal trainer and all other members of the cast their unique character. The costumes are highly functional and reflect as well as toy with contemporary fashions. Unsurprisingly many of the valuable pieces were conceived by famous costume designers and made from exquisite materials.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swiss National Circus Knie, the Textilmuseum St. Gallen presents a selection of around 90 costumes from the private collection of the Knie family. The garments embody the history of the Circus Knie, which has entranced generations of spectators and has become part of the collective Swiss memory.

Curators/ Scenography: Moritz Junge, Martin Leuthold
Assistant Curator: Ilona Kos

Circus Knie

Presenting Partner



Our thanks

7. March 2019 - 19. January 2020