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Tamás Király (1952-2013)

Born in 1952, in Gyöngyös, Hungary. 

He learns the decorator profession in Budapest, meanwhile he organizes performance events in his apartment, and begins to design clothes in a self-educated way.

His career as a fashion designer starts at the beginning of the 80’s, as he is a co-founder of the New Art Studio boutique.

He organizes fashion shows regularly in Petőfi csarnok (Baby’s Dream, Boy’s dream, Animal’s Dream), and he also realizes fashion walks with his friends as models in several irregular places, such as on the streets, abandoned venues, in factory buildings, or on the tram. 

In 1988, he receives an invitation to participate in the Dressater Fashion Week in West-Berlin. The event takes place in Hamburger Bahnhof that is operating today as a museum for contemporary art. Seven designers get invited, for example, Vivienne Westwood, and Király is the only eastern European participant. All seven designers show their work in a solo show. At his show (Open Doors), Király presents creations inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus costumes and their geometric structures and also pieces inspired by the 80’s worker clothing and the Russian constructivism.

The event is surrounded by huge interest from the international press, which establishes Király’s international recognition. He begins to be referred to as “the pope of fashion” and the “eastern European Jean Paul Gaultier” by the press. 

Beyond his career as a fashion designer, he cooperates in several film and theater projects as a costume designer (such as the films of Gábor Bódy, János Xantus, Gábor Bachmann). His work is characterized by moving on the borders of fashion, fine arts, theatre, film, and performance Therefore his oeuvre cannot be included exclusively in one category, his collections rather can be considered as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk. In the making process, it is not a priority for him to design the clothes to be as long-lasting as possible, his main interests are rather the impressions of a particular moment, the continuous change and transformation. For this reason, he often re-uses, transforms, or throws away certain pieces.

Since his death in 2013, several exhibitions have been organized (2015: Open Doors: Király Tamás 80’s, Tranzit, 2017: Unruly constructions, Trapéz, 2019: Király Tamás. Out of the box, Ludwig Museum)


Ludwig Museum, Budapest 

Tamás Király, László Rajk Unruly Constructions

Tamás Király Tamás Király