During the 1960s and 70s, influenced by the emerging youth culture, democratisation and the women’s liberation movement, it became increasingly important to design accessible, affordable clothing for a wider public. Rather than creating expensive couture, the new designers made small series for boutiques. Unconventional Amsterdam became – like London – a hotbed of fashion talent that began to operate on the interface of visual art and high-street fashion. This could mainly be seen in the exuberant parties thrown by the cultural in-crowd, which were particularly dominated by the flourishing, and partially underground, gay scene in Amsterdam. These were the days of Fong Leng, and her most important model Mathilde Willink, wife of painter Carel Willink. Puck and Hans Kemmink started out working from small Amsterdam boutiques. Their designs were supplemented with second-hand retro clothing, often from Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein, and were promoted by The Salty Dog, which sold a great deal of ‘vintage’ American ready-to-wear clothing from the 1950s. The result was cheerful and catching. Designers from all over the world came to Amsterdam to get inspiration for their collections. Meanwhile, the Arnhem academy was producing a steady stream of new designers, stylists and trend watchers, such as Lidewij Edelkoort, who was able to apply the sensitivity to trends that is so vital to the fashion world to other fields, and so became the leading trend forecaster of the 1990s. Later on she led the Design Academy in Eindhoven to become one of the world’s most important educational institutions in the field of design in the broadest sense of the word. Stylist Frans Ankoné transcribed the spirit of the times in his pioneering photo reports for magazines such as Avenue.
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