Amsterdam_Tess van Zalinge “Shades of White”
by Venetia Kapernekas
In color theory, a shade is a pure color mixed with black (or having a lower lightness) Strictly speaking, a “shade of white” would be a neutral beige.
Nevertheless, in Tess van Zalinge ‘s fabulous creations, the shades of white take a complete different direction; ‘The designer label’s aesthetics contemporises the female form, combining modern Dutch silhouettes with traditional elements. The precise cut and fit of her collections take centre stage, an approach lending itself to bespoke tailoring. Influenced by her Dutch roots, Tess van Zalinge references in her work Dutch crafts, costume wear, design and typically Dutch techniques.
photo ©Wadim Petunin
Virgin white organza and frail corsets formed the basis for the enchanting show with folkloristic kraplap. With the title ‘Monday, Wash Day’, the young designer referred to nostalgic traditional Dutch sculptures of green meadows with clotheslines full of flowing white wax.
I met Tess van Zalinge first time last July afternoon in Munich; Tess was attenting a special event for a dress creation which would be part of the Alte Pinakothek for limited time ‘Woman in Blue Reading a Letter’ by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675). Tess and her studio created a dress for that occasion, as her studies on costume historical design.
Design: Tess van Zalinge, Photo©Peter Stigter
photo ©Tomek Dersu Aaron, model Suez
Her collection “De Porcelayne Fles” (“the Porcelain Bottle’), collection 2017/2018 was launched in collaboration with Royal Delft. The collection was a class between functionality and sensuality, featuring oversized suits and lingerie. Due to the unique collaboration, between Tess and Royal Delft, prints were created honouring Dutch master painters like Johannes Vermeer.
The music of Alexander Desalt echoes beautifully during that collection. Young Tess, a very hard working young fashion designer based in Amsterdam has lots in her mind..
A long admired artist and writer, Edmund de Waal in his magnificent book “The White Road”, he writes,
“Porcelain is made of two kins of mineral. The first element is ‘petunse’ or what is known as porcelain stone. In the vivid imagery used here in Jindgedezhen it provides the flesh of the porcelain. It gives translucency and supplies the hardness of the body. The second element is ‘kaolin’ or porcelain call and it is the bones. It gives plasticity. Together ‘petuntse’ and ‘kaolin’ fuse at great heat to create a form of glass that is vitrified: at a molecular level the spaces are filled up with glass, making the vessel non-porous. ” (Edmund de Wall,”The White Road”_ a pilgrimage of sorts, pp29)
photo© Tomek Dersu Aaron
“…It is from ‘kaolin that porcelain draws its strength, just like tendons in the body. Thus is that a soft earth strength to ‘petuntse’ which is the harder rock. A rich merchant told me that several years ago some Europeans purchased some petuntse, which they took back to their own country in order to make some porcelain, but not having any kaolin, their efforts failed … upon which the Chinese merchant told me laughing, ‘They wanted to have a body in which the flesh would be supported without bones.” (Edmund de Waal, ‘The White Road, pp.29
Tess’ love for crafts, nature and folklore is again central in her newest collection. Inspired by the nostalgic image of white laundry on the clothesline above the vast fields that Dutch nature has to offer. Tess takes you back to Monday Laundry, ‘I have been inspired by this typical Dutch image of peace and quietness and made a translation of it with the focus on traditional costume, craft and experiment’.
photo ©Tomek Dersu Aaron
In some of their creations, the fashion designers, not always referencing as specific building , often incorporate architectural elements, like elongated proportions and strong silhouettes in their fashions; architecture usually plays the influence pattern. Coco Chanel quoted “Fashion is architecture: is a matter of proportions”
Tess van Zalinge’s studio was created in 2016, a small creative team of 1-5 young designers, usually some interns of fashion design and all the fabrics are within the borders of Netherlands. Tess does not hold any rules concerning how often she will present collections, first year she held three and a capsule collection, for this year is to do one collection and simultaneously to work /collaborate on interesting projects on the site.
The unique folded apron from the Molensteenkraag was the inspiration for one of the signature looks from Tess Van Zalinge’s Porceleyne Fles’ collection back in 2017. For her partnership with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Tess has re-invented the stand-out piece to be exhibited next to the artwork in the museum for the duration of six months commencing in January, 2019.
photo©Marieke Bosma, courtesy of Centraal Museum Utrecht
photo© Marieke Bosma,courtesy of Centraal Museum Utrecht
photo © Tomek Dersu Aaron, model Fien Kloos
You are by the sea at the turn of the tide.. The san is washed clean. You make the first mark in the white sand, that first contact of foot on the crust of the sand, not knowing how deep and how definite your step will be. You hesitate over the white paper like Bellini’s scribe with his brush. Eighty paris from the tail of an otter ends in a breath, a single hair steady in the still air. You are ready to start. The hesitation of a kiss on the nape of the neck like a lover. (Edmund de Waal, The White Road)
From September 5, 2018 to March 31, 2019, the Costume Museum organizes the Contemporary Fashion exhibition.
The Dutch Costume Museum shows the craftsmanship, artistry, and passion that created the Dutch traditional costumes. The collection encompasses a cross-section of local traditional dresses and folk art from each region. Each region has its own garb, with variations from different villages or stages of life, such as marriage and mourning after a death. The museum houses seven rooms, and each room is decorated with motives and colours characteristics for each specific region…..The museum is housed in a 17th-century canal house at Herengracht, around the corner or Leidsestraat in the center of Amsterdam. In 1665, ropemaker Jan Jacobszn van Gelder bought the plot of land on which he built house numbers 427 and 429. The carpenter Cornelis de Roos had a facade with neck gables constructed in 1700, a feature that is still visible today. The interior contains an original Blue Delft toilet, which is still in use.
all photos credited by the photographers and courtesy of Tess van Zalinge Studio, Amsterdam, Netherlands.