2010 July 14

Going Dutch

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Joanna – Hervé Leger Campaign, 1995 Joanna – Hervé Leger Campaign, 1995
Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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(AMSTERDAM) Amsterdam’s Museum Square was a rowdy sea of orange Tuesday as the city showed its pride for a certain football team returning from the World Cup. The mood wasn’t nearly as somber as one might expect, and revelers filled the streets for a Queen’s Day-esque celebration. Meanwhile, Holland’s chic set is prepping itself for the opening night of Amsterdam International Fashion Week, and while the main event doesn’t kick off until Thursday, there are a bevy of exhibits and attractions to whet your appetite.

Viktor & Rolf, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin...the Dutch love a duo (as does The Daily). You can currently find the latter featured at the FOAM museum as a part of the “Pretty Much Everything” exhibit, an expansive 300-piece retrospective of their work together. The exhibition includes all the iconic photographs from 1985 until today, ranging from Maggie Rizer’s Yohji Yamamoto campaign in the ‘90s to a recent portrait of Gabourey Sidibe. There's no right or wrong way to traverse the labyrinth-like exhibit, as it was organized “intuitively" and intended to resemble one, long, winding sentence. Those craving more Inez and Vinoodh can pick up a special edition newspaper at the gift shop created exclusively for the exhibit, which includes 25 posters for a mere 7.95 euros. The exhibition is on display until September 15th.

In an entirely different vein, the Red Light District offers its own take on designer fashion. (Stay with us here!) Mariette Hoitink, the creator of Red Light Fashion Amsterdam, sees the potential for the industry to thrive in the district that is known for a much different form of commerce. Turning Talent Into Business is an initiative that essentially loans certain street-level windows to the creative industries. Established and greener designers alike have the opportunity to display their designs in the windows, injecting art into the district’s streets. Hoitink explained, “This was controversial in the beginning, two and a half years ago. But this certainly isn’t about shutting down the Red Light District; it is about giving these designers another platform. We’re not trying to turn this area of Amsterdam into Gucci town!”

Certainly not! (Especially since fashion isn't the only product offered in the windows of this area.) Participating brands include Bas Kosters, Edwin Oudshoorn and Corne Gabiels. While the sex shops abound, there is a homey, almost '50s Pleasantville vibe to the area these days. Designer Mada Van Gaans sailed by on her bicycle, waving hello and mentioning that she hopes her window isn’t too debris-filled from the World Cup parties. Jolanda van den Broek, co-designer of the label And Beyond, was lounging in her studio, where she used to live but now uses as a workspace. “It’s like a village here,” she noted. “We’re not keen to leave!”

The designers can’t sell their clothes in the Red Light District, as there is a prostitution permit in the area, but luckily, the nearby Nine Streets offer more in the way of shopping. At the vintage shop Laura Dols on Wolvenstraat, you’ll find everything from rhinestone-studded bras and baskets full of floral 1960s swimcaps to gems like an ostrich-print and tulle Dior chapeaux for 250 euros. Over at Van Ravenstein on Keizergracht everything in the store, including all Dries Van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, Balenciaga and Givenchy is on sale. Pick up a Viktor & Rolf lavender blazer for 540 euros. But shopping was quickly curtailed due to joyous cheers in the street as the welcoming parade roared on. Welkom to Amsterdam!

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