Last year Tess van Zalinge’s collection was presented to a small audience in het Transformatorhuis, surprising us with her very innovative designs that cleverly fused underwear with outerwear, outlining the short catwalk with suspended neon light tubes. This year her show welcomes us to the spacious Gashouder, and upon entering we see straight away that she has definitely utilized the space she’s been given. In the middle of the broad catwalk we see large piles of shattered porcelain, while a man seems to be gently rummaging through the shards, every little clinking noise amplified by the microphone attached to his clothing. This introductory act, emulating the title of the show “De Porceleyne Fles” makes it very clear that her collection is inspired by the very traditional Dutch Royal Delftware pottery.
Well known Dutch artist Ramses Shaffy’s “Laat Me” opens the show, later followed by “Zing, Vecht, Huil, Bid, Lach, Werk en Bewonder” as the models make their way down the catwalk criss-crossing around the piles of porcelain shards with an up-tempo stomp to match the up-beat, emotional temperament of the song. The dominance of black and neon green in Tess van Zalinge’s past collection has been replaced with colors referential to the blue-on-white decorated Delftware pottery, with a lot of white and blue and here and there a subtle presence of orange among the floral prints. The high level of Dutch folklore heritage within the collection is unmistakable, with designs featuring long skirts that refer to traditional styles from the Dutch province Zeeland as well as pantsuits and designs featuring leg caps that remind us of colonial times. An asymmetrical wide sweater dress featuring Dutch painter Vermeers’ “Girl with a pearl earring” is another great example. Tess van Zalinge channels these influences while executing them in a very modern way, sometimes using very surprising materials such as latex to contrast the heavier fabrics. Introducing intricate creations such as origami style skirts that seem very referential to traditional merchant style collars, prove she has stepped up her design aesthetic while still artfully combining lingerie and fashion.