Paris chooses for Staphorster Stipwerk again: Gerard van Oosten’s work shines on the catwalk once more!

In the hectic days of the Dutch Design Week, October last year, Crafts Council Nederland was called by French fashion house Maison Margiela because they were also interested in applying Staphorster Stipwerk in their new collection. And asked if we could send samples to John Galiano himself, so he would be inspired to implement the craft in the haute couture show! That happend, Galiano chose the most traditional pattern, white to black. On Wednesday 25th of January 2017 it was shown on the catwalk!

The show consisted of three colors: white, black and red and played with inside and outside. The artisanal collection, like the haute couture collection of MM is called, is completely handmade. And besides Staphorster Stipwerk, also the Zeeuwse oorijzers – the headdress worn in the south of the Netherlands – appeared.

Staphorster Stipwerk is a special decoration technique and was used as an alternative to the more expensive and labour-intensive embroidery. A variety of materials that is present in any household as nails, pins and other pieces of metal can be used. This is mounted on wooden bobbins and cork. The stamps are provided with paint and applied directly to the fabric. Traditionally, this oil-based paint had to dry on the fabric for almost all winter inside a cabinet and was not washable.

Stamps with different motifs are combined into patterns where traditionally the corner of the fabric is the most important because it is the most visible. Not only the motifs, but also the colours have a meaning. Particular mourning plays an important role. There are several stages of mourning, of which white on black is the deepest visible form. Blue and green are added over time. Bright colours like red, yellow and purple are traditionally used when there is no mourning in the family and for children’s clothes. The Stipwerk has been an essential part of the Staphorster costume and popular culture since the beginning of the twentieth century. (Source: Staphorster Stipwerk Foundation)

Masterpiece Gerard van Oosten grew up in Staphorst and learned the craft of his aunt. Van Oosten uses this background and his professional painting training to maintain and develop the traditional craft of Staphorster Stipwerk. Using modern materials, techniques and applications, he passes the craft on to the next generation. For example, Van Oosten has developed new paint that is widely applicable to various fabrics and washable, an important innovation. In this way, the Stipwerk technique is more useful than only in a traditional way.