Fong Leng (b. 1937) excited a furore in the 1970s with her extravagant fashion designs, also beyond the Netherlands’ borders. British pop star Kate Bush, for instance, posed in her clothes. Fong Leng brought out a new collection every year, in cooperation with an international team. Berry Brun (1944...-1997) – later a teacher at the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem – became her right-hand man.
Initially she presented her collections in her own studio in Amsterdam’s fashionable P.C. Hooftstraat, but soon enough sought out spectacular locations for her fashion shows, such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Beurs van Berlage. One legendary highlight was a show in the PSV soccer stadium in Eindhoven.
Fong Leng achieves extraordinary results with leather, working it until it is as supple as fabric. A good example is this azure-blue leather coat with appliqués of calla lilies. The three-dimensionality of the seemingly randomly placed flowers with gold-coloured spikes creates a lively effect. Her designs have influenced couturiers such as Viktor & Rolf (both 1969) and Francisco van Benthum (1972).
Fong Leng was awarded a knighthood in the Order of Orange Nassau in 2019 for her contribution to the world of fashion.
Text: Renate Ketelaars, guide and museum host
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