Stossen by Nikkie Wester: between fashion and anthropology
by Rossella Locatelli
There is a place where fashion and anthropology meet.
It is something we all bump into, whether we like it or not: the dress as a fundamental part of those passing rites that mark our existence.Â If you have ever happened to meet a cloth collector you will knowÂ that he or she is always focusing not only on masterpieces by famous fashion houses but also on everything which characterizes the ritual dress of past epochs or distant cultures, such as, for example, the ancient ceremony veils, the sashiko kimono, baptismal bonnets and the Jordan khalaga.
German ethnologist Max Tilke dedicated his life to the study of oriental dress and he drew and recomposed all its styles. In the early 1970s Nanni Strada created some Max Mara‘s collections taking inspiration from Tilke’s studies. Antonio Marras has never concealed the fact that the complexity of the Sardinian traditional women costumes has always influenced his creations, full of precious embroidery, ribbons and overlays. As a matter of fact the encounter between folklore and fashion is not something innovative, but what makes it a potential source of new concepts is the fact that it can be rethought.
Stossen by Nikkie Wester places itself on the path carved out by many valuable artists. With her Stossen collection the designer, a degree at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, has collected the results of her research on fashion and textile design to create brand new and poetic traditional Dutch regional costumes, where both form and materials are highlighted. Â A series of beautiful collages, fragments of family memories and national identity, is followed by a discussion on the fabrics — hand-crafted by means of looms and with the collaboration of the Textile Museum in Tilburg. These fabrics are woven with various geometrical motifs, such as cross-shaped, polka-dot or rhomboid weaves.Â Cloaks, shawls, caps, rigid lace hats, aprons, lace ruff collars have been redesigned and put together according to silhouettes that are so contemporary to remind us of some creations by Comme des GarÃ§ons.
This collection is made of signs, figures, dots, which takes us back to our past: Â simple structures made with layers of ancient wool, linen, cottons, silk. As in the past, the extremely rich simplicity is always changing thanks to the use of bracelets, shawls, collars and dresses. Blue and grey are put together with red, anthracite, light blue, orangish pink and white. A short lesson on how traditional ancient clothing can lead to new visions around the body and to what wraps it.