In December/ January The Mister and I set out on a four week trip – we stopped in Paris for New Years & to see close friends, embarked upon India for another friend’s wedding and toured the a lot of the country and then stopped in Amsterdam on the way home. (This all occurred in my 6 month blogging hiatus so I will probably write more about this from time to time!)
We try to go to Paris once a year, and we love to sit in cafe’s and drink endless cups of espresso and lots and lots of fois gras- and of course I do lots of shopping. Probably because I follow fashion voraciously online – the high street shopping never seems that exciting. Even though I always have high hopes (and yes there ARE amazing gems out there and amazing stores!) In general, there are few sales, and a lot of what I find I can also be ordered online from the US or ordered online from France (seriously though, Isabel Marant, APC, Commes des Garcon, Petite Bateau are all ubiquitous in American boutiquery) – and a lot of stuff is just out of my freaking price league and I am generally better off buying couture level items on ebay slightly pre-loved). I did end up with the cheeky orange clutch version of the canvas Longchamps “Ceci est un IT Bag”
And our only major purchase was an Evan Hecox painting from his Paris show at The Lazy Dog. I Love it in our living room!!
So the real point of this post is that since Holland fashion is not so sought after and known about- I tended to find a lot of Amsterdam shopping to be very exciting! In my mind I had pictured a lot of Orla Kiely-esque prints and color palletes, printed corduroy A-line skirts and knee socks and lots of cardigans. I found Dutch women are very chic, and they LOVE shopping! I researched and sought out a lot of vintage and consignment shops and “epic” is kind of an understatement! It is possible to run across Rick Owens or Dries Van Noten or Westwood pieces for under 100-150 euros. The vintage stores were still stuck in a lot of the polyester period of low end 60′s merch. I stumbled across (and purchased) a stellar deal on a Bottega Veneta Large Veneta Hobo in Cerise that was a steal for E142 (about $250!!!) I authenticated it already (duh) and it was a hardly worn bag from 2007 Resort collection. wowza!
In general, one of my favorite discoveries was a Dutch boutique named after it’s sole designer Cora Kemperman. It was shockingly colorful inside, but with very few prints- mostly solids, The ranges of colors were restrained but on point contrasted with lots of black and some white. To my first glance- the line consisted of beautifully constructed, uniquely shaped knits- all for around $100/per piece.
The Cora Kemperman website describes her collection as “feminine and elegant, has ethnic elements, is comfortable and has been produced responsibly. Our customers are creative women who do not follow the mainstream trends.”
Maybe I still have FIFA Fever, but I love the way that wearing different colors looks athletic or nationalistic- ethnic, but also avant garde. ya know?
Here are some images from the 2010 collection:
And some images from her archive: A lot more black- but still very creative, wearable and European!
I think the reason why all of her images are so appealing is that the models seem to be very womanly- going places and doing things- I look at all the designs and though modeled on a slender woman- can imagine a curvier girl rocking almost all of it! So many times I stare at pictures of runway shows on my style.com iphone app- and though beautiful- a lot would not translate to real bodies with different size boobies or hips. Cora’s pieces are simple to wear but complex in design- comfortable yet celebrating the form.
Best of all- The 10 year old company believes in corporate social responsibility, using sustainable packaging, dying techniques and textiles- also supporting manufacturers in India through providing education facilities for families, decrying child labor and providing health care.
The saddest thing is I was in a rush when I stumbled into the boutique- and I left after a quick browse promising myself that I would return the next day alone to leisurely stock up on some dhoti pants, kimono sweaters and draped jersey madness. Unfortunately my watch was messed up from traveling in India and we had our departure date screwed up! We had to leave the next morning. Cora Kemperman has no online shop, and no shops outside of The Netherlands and Belgium. *sigh* I guess I will just have to go back!
all images from www.corakemperman.nl