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Van Der Kooij is the next Australian label about to be on your radar

PHOTOGRAPHY – Natalia Parsonson @ The Uncommon Agency
Stylist – Alex Niue
HAIR & MAKEUP – Hayley Wilson
PRODUCER – Jordana @ The Uncommon Agency
WORDS BY GEORGIE KIBEL

Carefully constructed luxury.

The Dutch word ‘gezelligheid’ has no English equivalent. The word describes the feeling of being at home, cosiness, or the quality of being quaint. It can also describe time spent with loved ones and the warmth of togetherness.

For Natasha Veenhuizen, founder and head designer of Melbourne label Van Der Kooij, gezelligheid encompasses the ethos of her brand.

Feminine, with a sense of nostalgia and curiosity” is how Natasha describes her designs. Billowing sleeves on maxi dresses, soft colours and silky skirts are emblematic of the modern, yet carefully considered style that Natasha creates.

I think the people who would wear Van Der Kooij like to exhibit self-expression in a unique way. I imagine the people who wear my designs are appreciative of the finer details of each product,” she says.   

Those finer details are of utmost importance to Van Der Kooij, whose guiding philosophies are that of sustainability and quality design. All the label’s products are made in limited quantities, with Natasha present at every touchpoint.

I choose each fabric, I work with a patternmaker who I have a 10-year relationship with, and I sew most of the custom orders myself,” she explains. I think it’s important to bring the art back into creating clothing, rather than engaging in mass production where everything looks the same. We should all respect the process and time that goes into creating what we wear.

For example, hemp biodegrades easier than other materials, so I am using that to attach the swing tickets on each garment.”

The label also works with the Plant-a-Tree program through Carbon Neutral Australia to help offset any emissions produced while manufacturing its clothes. I just want what I’m putting out into the world to go hand-in-hand with my personal beliefs,” Natasha says.

 

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@blancamiro a vision in our Volume Sleeve Maxi. Pre Order now with @vasquiat_official 🤍

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Van Der Kooij is the maiden name of Natashas late ‘Oma’, meaning ‘grandmother’ in Dutch. Her Oma taught her how to sew, and Natasha credits her success to the woman who served as her inspiration. It’s my way to pay tribute to all the women who have come before me and who made me who I am,” she says.

Natasha has drawn upon her fond childhood memories as a creative source for her current collection, Primrose. It was inspired by her grandparents’ garden at their home located in the seaside suburb of Inverloch. The colours, sights and sounds of the backyard, where Natasha spent her childhood holidays, are mirrored in the bright statement pieces, boasting vibrant floral designs.

Im a very tactile person and sourcing the fabrics to create these designs was very important,” she says.

Her next collection, Lia, which is currently available to pre-order from Vasquiat, is also a return to Natashas childhood. It was brought into being after Natasha re-watched her favourite ballet, Coppélia.

When I was little, only four or five years old, I used to go to my grandparents on the holidays. My grandfather loved the ballet and he had a bookshelf full of VHS videos with the titles, performers and dates perfectly handwritten on each one. He introduced me to Coppélia and now when I listen to the score, I am inspired. It is fun, dramatic and beautiful.”

But Lia is a departure from Van Der Kooijs usual look in many ways. The intricate, lively patterns that were championed in the Primrose collection will be replaced by a neutral colour palette.

I have purposefully pared back the look for the new collection. It felt right, not just because of what we are going through in the world currently, but sustainability is such a foundation of what I do. I want to contribute to a persons sustainable wardrobe. The new pieces have a classic form and colour range that are suitable for as staple, long-lasting pieces. They are easy to integrate and I think they will have great wearability.”

The Lia collection is available to pre-order until November 12 from Vasquiat, for delivery early 2021. The Primrose collection is currently available online internationally, or find it in-store at Tuchuzy, Public Figure and Del Rainbow Store.

vanderkooij.com.au

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