Past events
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Hats have always been more than just fashion accessories. They are a reflection of a person’s personality, referencing their social status or their occupation. This was no different in historical Korea.

For the current special exhibition Ari-Arirang. Korea – Fascination Hermit Kingdom (extended until 15 July 2024), Germany’s most extraordinary hat maker Fiona Bennett has explored the hat collection from the Korean Joseon period (1392-1910) in the Ethnologisches Museum. Bennett’s creations adorn the heads of numerous celebrities worldwide as well as the cover of Vogue. For us, she travelled in the footsteps of Korean hat craftsmanship.

In a talk with exhibition curator Maria Sobotka, she will explain the discoveries she made in the process.


Fiona Bennett, born in Brighton in 1966, is probably the best-known and most unusual milliner in Germany. Her hats dress celebrities all over the world, including Ashton Kutcher, Hugh Jackman, Liv Lisa Fries, Jan Josef Liefers, Nadja Auermann, Brad Pitt, Ben Becker & Meret Becker, Yoko Ono and Katie Holmes. Bennett began her training as a milliner when Berlin was still divided by the Wall. After the fall of the Wall, she moved into an old soap factory in Berlin-Mitte and created her own cosmos there. Vivienne Westwood invited her to teach at the Universität der Künste. Numerous film productions rely on Fiona Bennett’s design and craftsmanship, including the outfitting of the main characters in the German hit series “Babylon Berlin”. Bennett opened her first shop in Berlin-Mitte in 1999 and the Hutpalast on Potsdamer Straße with partner Hans Böhme in 2012.

Works by Fiona Bennett can still be seen in the “Ari Ariang” exhibition at the Humboldt Forum until 15 July 2024. There you can marvel at and listen to her interactive installation “Talking Hats” and experience Korea-inspired couture hats. Most recently, she collaborated with the artist FLATZ and installed three “Talking Hats” in his retrospective of the exhibition at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. In February 2024, Fiona Bennett was invited to an artist residency in Lamu Island, Kenya.

Humboldt Forum, Ari-Arirang. Korea – Faszination für ein verschlossenes Königreich“

Maria Sobotka studied art history in a global context with a regional focus on East Asia and economics at the Free University of Berlin and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Her research and interests focus on Korean and Chinese art, the history of collections of East Asian art in Western museums and current challenges in cultural policy. Since October 2022, she has been the curator responsible for the Korean collections of the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art at the National Museums in Berlin.

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