In Alkmaar I met Joke Koning, wearing a beautiful jacket. It is designed by Kenzo. Joke: “More than 40 years ago I bought this jacket. Recently I rediscovered it in my closet, every time I wear it I get compliments. At that time I regularly bought a lot of Kenzo clothes, I don’t wear them that often anymore, so I have a special Kenzo suitcase. You’re welcome to take a look”.
I am very curious about her Kenzo suitcase. Entering her house I can see that Joke is an avid collector and specialist. Not only about Kenzo and other fashion designers. But also of antique fabrics, closets, children’s clothes, and decoration. Everything is beautifully displayed, it looks like a museum.
How did it start?
Joke (70+): “Like many people, I have inherited the love for beautiful fabrics from my parents. I was born in Groningen, my mother loved to use fabrics from Compagner in Staphorst. My father loved the original fabrics from England for his coats and suits. When I was 10 years old I got my first pattern and fabric, in order to work at the sewing machine to make a dress for my doll. So a study at the Fashion & Design Academy was a logical step for me. Costume history was also included.”
“During my studies, my Fashion teacher had good contacts in Paris with some fashion designers. She liked to take us to the workshops and shows of various couturiers in Paris, such as Gaultier. Kenzo (Takada) came after his fashion training in Japan in 1965 as a tourist to Paris, where he was able to work as a stylist and illustrator. He sold his first clothes under the label “Jungle Jap” in 1970. In Groningen, the boutique Hoppety was one of the first stores in the Netherlands selling designs by Kenzo. I’ve always loved his work and I still do. So I kept all the Kenzo clothes I’ve bought over the years.”
“Kenzo’s colors are fantastic and unbeatable. His designs are timeless. Several blouses have wide, almost puffed sleeves, as we see now again. These pants I can still wear. Of many garments, I remember exactly the occasion I wore it.
I wanted to work in the fashion world, but because of my disease (rheumatoid arthritis), everything changed, unfortunately. But I still can use my knowledge, I love beautiful clothes and I stay well informed about all developments in the fashion world. In addition to this suitcase, I have more Kenzo clothing. Many of them I still wear and occasionally I buy new items of this label. I am also a fan of Issey Miyake. The Japanese designers remain exciting, not only in terms of design but also because of the beautiful colors, as they are unique. I’ll show you something next time.”
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