The Danish designer Erik Mortensen was born in Frederikshavn in 1926 and studied in Copenhagen as an apprentice to the fashion designer Holger Blom before moving to Paris when he was just 22 years old - to the House of Pierre Balmain - first as a student and then from 1951 as an assistant to Balmain. After the death of Balmain in 1982, Mortensen was appointed head designer of the fashion house.
He left Pierre Balmain in 1990 and from 1992 was head of design for Jean Louis Scherrer.
More than seventy of the works that Mortensen created in Paris are shown in I am Black Velvet - a major exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark.
I can not claim to have any real interest in fashion and I do find the extravagance and ostentation of haute couture not just slightly alien but actually rather disconcerting … my inner puritan starts to come out … but even I have to admit that the quality and craftsmanship in these outfits is outstanding and the complexity of the shapes and silhouettes and the incredible richness of the colours is certainly dramatic.
I am Black Velvet at Designmuseum Danmark until 28th January 2018