Fong Leng’s fashion art on display in the Amsterdam Museum – dresses that’d do Lady Gaga proud!

Fong Leng’s fashion art on display in the Amsterdam Museum – dresses that’d do Lady Gaga proud!

The Amsterdam Museum is showing art by the Dutch fashion industry’s grand dame Fong Leng. This designer experienced her heyday in the Seventies when she reversed the minimalist trend in the fashion industry and made short shrift with the ‘less is more’ idea which the fashion industry at the time seemed to have adopted for the sake of women’s liberation. Her creations are believed to be fashion art.

When you go to visit this exhibition, you should keep in mind that in retrospect, the Seventies look completely other than it would really have been for the people living then. To us, it sounds ridiculous that Fong Leng, born in Rotterdam in 1937, was ‘immensely bored’ with the fashion trends of the Seventies. But she really thought they were dull and dank and you get it when you see what she dreamt up instead. 

Her resplendent, colourful fashion creations are characterised by their use of various materials.The result was frequently tremendously surprising and if Lady Gaga has a predecessor, it could very well have been one of Leng’s most prominent clients, Mathilde Willink, a Seventies Amsterdam socialite who helped make her magic realist painter husband famous by dressing in Leng’s creations. . 

“You could actually say [Leng] was an inverted Coco Chanel: the designer who liberated women at the beginning of the twentieth century of a muchness of clothes and gifted them with simplicity. Fong Leng wanted it all to be much more exuberant, one blogger who went to the Amsterdam Museum show, comments.  

Leng ran her business from the prestigious PC Hooftstraat and dressed famous people with creations, costing 10,000 guilders and upwards a piece, to much acclaim before turning her hand at designing Levi jeans and administering to the masses. Her atelier was a phenomenon among Amsterdam’s bohemians and inspired among others Viktor & Rolf, the top designers currently running the show in the Netherlands. 

Leng is still active although she closed up her PC Hooftstraat establishment and is mostly designing wall decorations and interiors. 
The show 'Fong Leng – Fashion & Art' runs until March 16th and the Amsterdam Museum is located in the Kalverstraat, which is the main shopping promenade located slap bang in the middle of an area where Amsterdam Apartment runs many accommodations.