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Tribute to Koos Van Den Akker

New York City fashion designer Koos van den Akker passed away at 75 on February 3, 2015.
Linda Chang Teufel visits with Koos van den Akker in his boutique in 2011.
Collage jackets are among the inspirational pieces youll find at the Koos van den Akker boutique on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Two collage jackets made of fur, luxurious fabric, and trim take center stage at the Koos van den Akker boutique at 1263 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Koos van den Akker boutique at 1263 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Circa 2014, Koos puts works on one of his fabulous creations. 
New York City fashion designer Koos van den Akker passed away at 75 on February 3, 2015.

New York City fashion designer Koos van den Akker passed away at 75 on February 3, 2015.

By Linda Chang Teufel

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of New York City fashion designer Koos van den Akker on February 3, 2015 at age 75. He died of colon cancer.

Koos was my mentor in the late 1970s and 1980s while I studied fashion design at Pratt Institute in New York City and later, when I worked in the industry. As a college senior, I apprenticed at his studio. He then hired me when I really needed a job.

Before I met Koos, I was searching for my design style. Like many design students, I emulated the current trends of designers such as Halston, Yves St. Laurent, Kenzo, and Perry Ellis. One day, while browsing through fashion magazines, I stopped at a Virginia Slims ad featuring a dress by Koos. To me, it was the most elegant creation and so out of the box with its mixed prints and flowy shape. I just had to work for him.

At that time, Koos was very successful with his boutique on stylish Madison Avenue and his showroom on Seventh Avenue. The lobby of this showroom was collaged from ceiling to floor. All the top department stores and boutiques around the country carried his clothing. He also had a boutique in Beverly Hills for a short time.

For me, it was wonderful to be surrounded by such creativity and unique fashion. I was with a few other male assistants in the workroom where Koos also worked. I could see what he was creating on his mannequin across the room. His jaw-dropping pieces were made of sumptuous fabrics, trims, and furs. His fabric combinations were sometimes surprising, but always elegant. They were definitely his strength.

Nobody was creating and mixing fabrics in collage like he did then, but many well-known designers have since used his style as inspiration for their collections. Geoffrey Beene once wrote Koos a letter about how he influenced his style. It has certainly influenced my style. His work was like receiving permission to mix colors and prints that were thought of as clashing or not good together. I observed, for example, how Koos used flocked chiffon for wool jacket underlining and wool challis for lining of a fur jacket.

Koos van den Akker  

Born in The Hague, Holland, in 1939, Koos began designing as a young boy with his sister as his first model.

He fashioned a dress out of a bedsheet and embroidered it with pearls. In 1955, as one of the youngest students with no prior formal training, Koos enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.


photo: Richard Koek 

At age 18, Koos left art school and enlisted in the army to fulfill his mandatory service and brought his sewing machine. He soon had a workshop set up in a basement and was making clothes for the officer's wives and daughters.

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Comments (4)

SteveGolden SteveGolden writes: RIP
Posted: 9:55 am on March 8th

EdwardJenkins EdwardJenkins writes: Wonderful work!
Posted: 2:14 am on July 31st

MilanoSUlladosy MilanoSUlladosy writes: недфорспид мост вантед играть онлайн бесплатно без регистрации
Posted: 1:02 am on February 22nd

beadembroiderer beadembroiderer writes: This is such sad news to hear he won't be here to produce such nice patterns and textiles. Be at peace now.
Posted: 7:18 pm on February 5th

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