Unlikely Muses: the city of Staphorst
While the fashion industry is still struggling to publically pronounce a reply in face of recent political changes, Walter Van Beirendonck has consistently confronted these issues straight-on. Whether it’s intolerance, terrorism, or bigotry, the big-bearded artist found an answer – or at least, a relief – in his designs.
Beauty can save the world. With this mantra in mind, Walter has found the power to shine bright, even in the darkest of times. For his SS17 collection, part of that heartening illumination came from a rather unexpected source: Staphorst, a little town in the Netherlands and its colourful inhabitants.
Proud of their heritage, its close-knit society prefers to remain to itself and seems almost untouched by time. With its picturesque farmhouses, bright green shutters and blue doors, the architecture could have come straight out of a children’s drawing. Staphorst represents the dream-destination for the eternal escapist, a timeless place, cut off from society. This is when you feel the power of beauty, timeless and hidden.
But Walter mostly found inspiration in the folklore, and in particular the Staphorst stipwerk, a rare technique, used to print and decorate fabrics. At its origin, the technique was used in the town’s traditional dress, still worn by the inhabitants today.
The craft was developed to imitate richly embroidered fabrics with objects that could be found around the house. Still today, small pins and nails are attached to wood or cork. The stamps are then immersed in primary coloured-paint and repetitively pressed onto the fabric, creating small floral-like patterns.
The mesmerising pace of craftwork.