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Dragon Robe, 1973

Mathilde de Doelder (1937-1977) was the muse and third wife of the painter Carel Willink (1900-1983). In 1971, she walked into the studio of fashion designer Fong Leng (1937) on the P.C. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam. The studio had recently opened, and had rapidly become a magnet for the jet set. Mathil ... de immediately fell under the spell. ‘In a Fong Leng creation, I could finally make myself into the woman I wanted to be’. Mathilde went on to buy a total of 37 Fong Leng creations, and wore them intensively throughout her life. Also when doing the groceries, and even when cleaning the house. This dragon robe from 1973 in purple satin, with royal Chinese dragons on the wide skirt, was one such beloved creation. Walking through the streets of Amsterdam in the robe, Mathilde was a sight to behold. ‘I couldn’t have hoped for a better ambassador’, Fong Leng once said. ‘She was great, everything just made total sense’. It was Mathilde’s wish for all of the creations to be returned to Fong Leng following her death. However, Mathilde’s descendants decided otherwise. The creations were auctioned and can now be found in the collections of a number of Dutch museums. Text: Renate Ketelaars, guide and museum host
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Dragon Robe
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