Wie eine Hinde
With his beautiful legs Joop Kotkamp would parade around the yard of the work camp in Germany during the second World War, as guards would shout "Wie eine Hinde" (just like a doe).
This and many other stories formed the inspiration for couturier Edwin Oudshoorn's latest catwalk presentation.
Kotkamp lived as a gay man in occupied Holland in the 1930s when his parents reported him to the Germans. Although his tale has a gruesome start, Kotkamp would tell beautiful tales on survival; romantic fairytales are what kept him sane.
"The collection is an ode to Joop and life itself - which doesn't always go as planned" says Oudshoorn about Wie eine Hinde. The collection combines a somewhat severe 1940s style (think trench coats and pencil skirts) with a touch of glamour represented by elaborate embroidery, Swarovski stone embellishment and ornate beadwork.
Thick materials such as felted wool are combined with silk charmeuse, printed fabrics, knits and even a shiny wool corset, creating sharp contrasts and interesting silhouettes. "There is an idea of a thick wool blanket which lay over people during the war and dulled their emotions, on the other hand people would tell romantic stories to keep up their spirits. I wanted to express this contrast in the clothing."
Presenting his collection during Salon/, Oudshoorn was given artistic freedom in the manner of presentation. He chose an abandoned building on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal (his future atelier), and had the models walk over a bear concrete floor, with barbed wire on either side of the catwalk. "I longed for a serene atmosphere which would at once represent the story," music trio Zazi (dressed in Oudshoorn's creations) performed a live soundtrack to the collection, performing German folk and popular songs from the 1940s.
As models slowly made their way over the catwalk in an almost dreamlike state, all eyes were directed towards the footwear in which heels were substituted by deer hoofs. "They are real hoofs which I stumbled upon accidentally. It was certainly a challenge to work with the animal parts but the shoes turned out to be quite comfortable to walk in!"
As a couturier, Oudshoorn now finds himself somewhat distanced from the world of fashion. Designing only on commission, patterns and materials can be as complicated as you like, the designer likes to push himself creatively - hence there the need for a yearly show. "This particular collection is all about telling a story, it needs more context than a white catwalk and stereo music. It's the atmosphere surrounding the collection which is equally important."
Wie eine Hinde will be on show at Droog Amsterdam until 17 July, 2011.
Click on the images to enlarge
Main image: Photography: Simon Bosch
Images: 1.-6. Photography: Simon Bosch 7.-8.The exhibition at Droog Photography: Marij Rynja
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