Fong Leng

Now on display
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Fashion designer Fong-Leng made a name for himself in the 1970s with extravagant creations. Colorful dresses and coats with animal appliqués, in leather and pleated silk, fur and rhinestones. The eccentric and colorful Mathilde de Doelder, third wife of realistic painter Carel Willink, was not only a good friend, but also one of Fong-Leng's most famous clients.

In 1971 Mathilde came into contact with Fong-Leng. In five years, Mathilde bought 37 dresses from the Chinese-Dutch fashion designer. In her Fong-Leng dresses, Mathilde became the fashion queen of the city of Amsterdam. Mathilde Willink was buried in 1977 in a suit of pleated gold lamé by Fong-Leng. In Museum MORE | Ruurlo Castle you can admire 5 creations by the famous fashion designer.

Fairy tales told in fabric

Fong-Leng (1938), child of a Dutch mother and a father who had come by boat from China, studied photography at the art academy in Rotterdam. Through her work she ended up as a designer with a fabric manufacturer in fashion. Thanks to her monumental and imaginative fashion creations, she was a household name in the 1970s and early 1980s. "Her fabric told fairytales," that is how her clothing can best be described. Theatrical, exuberant and extravagant. Think of long coat dresses with applications of snakes, tigers, plants and other exotic figures.

Fong Leng and Mathilde

Fong Leng opened her boutique in 1971 in the PC Hooftstraat in Amsterdam. The entire Amsterdam avant-garde was brought to the floor. People who were not afraid to dress extravagantly and who had enough money to afford Fong Leng's spectacular creations. Her main client, also one of her best friends, was the well-known society lady Mathilde Willink (1938-1977), at that time the wife of painter Carel Willink. After their first meeting, Mathilde Willink spent the rest of her life wearing only Fong Leng clothes.


The influence of the Chinese-Dutch fashion designer and artist on contemporary designers is great.

Current fashion designers like Bas Kosters, Mattijs van Bergen, Viktor & Rolf, all walk away with Fong-Leng. Their contemporary creations clearly show that they are inspired by the theatrical creations of Fong-Leng. Even Dries Van Noten showed gold-colored pleated blinds in Paris in October 2013, which evoked memories of Fong-Leng's work.

Discover the magic
by Carel Willink

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