Couturier Frans Hoogendoorn has been a household name in the Netherlands for over 40 years. He is inextricably linked to The Hague, a city associated from time immemorial with court life, the aristocracy and diplomacy, and therefore with the world of international fashion. Ever since the 1970s, this supreme professional has maintained a reputation for elegant designs visibly influenced by chic Parisian couture. His timeless creations with an international air are worn by leading women in Dutch society, including members of the royal family. The exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum is a tribute to the Hague couturier and includes collection drawings, film footage and many top examples of his work.
Throughout his career, Frans Hoogendoorn has consciously avoided the limelight and focused entirely on the needs of his clients and the quality of his couture. Over time he has attracted great admiration for his scrupulous, passionate and client-centred approach. Hoogendoorn set up his business in The Hague in 1974 and built up an impressive clientele in the city. Until it closed in 2014, his Molenstraat salon was a familiar and stylish landmark in the heart of the city.
“I just love making my clients’ dreams come true and ensuring that they are elegantly and tastefully dressed.”
Hoogendoorn likes bright colours, strong contrasts and bold colour combinations, like shocking pink gloves worn with a royal purple or sunshine yellow outfit. His designs have maintained a timeless style featuring a multitude of graphic lines, black-and-white outfits, houndstooth jackets, and polka dot evening dresses. He has an eye for quality and uses the finest fabrics from Italy and France. Frivolous bows are his trademark. Hoogendoorn’s style icons are classic beauties like Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and the Duchess of Windsor. He has always been influenced by Parisian couture and the fashions of 1950s and 60s Paris, where he witnessed shows by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy – couturiers whom he greatly admires.
The exhibition includes collection drawings, film footage and a host of Hoogendoorn couture creations, including some from private collections. One of the loan items (a white ensemble) was designed for Princess Irene of the Netherlands, who wore it at the funeral of her mother, Princess (previously Queen) Juliana. Other unique items loaned to the Gemeentemuseum for use in this exhibition include Princess Anita’s 2005 wedding dress and a favourite dress belonging to Princess Margarita.
The exhibition has been created by in-house curator Madelief Hohé, working in partnership with guest curator Nicole Uniquole. Frans Hoogendoorn has collaborated with Nicole Uniquole on a Dutch-language book about his oeuvre, published by Waanders en De Kunst. Exhibition design is by Maarten Spruyt.