Ironically, it was when the sisters decided to pursue a formal education in design that the young collaborators were first divided. "We both applied for the Art Academy in Arnhem, but they made it clear from the start that they could only accept one of us," says Riet. "They thought it would not be good for our personal development to accept us both—maybe they were right." While Truus made her way through the fashion department, Riet spent a year at the AKI Academy of Fine Art and Design, eventually enrolling in and graduating from Arnhem a year behind her sister.
We like to work with strong and clear geometric forms…we use them to create coupe and to emphasize the female body. This way we can show female forms in a strong and independent way, not just curvy and round.
Again, this mix of soft materials with hard lines comes from an ongoing historical fixation. "We find the design and art of the 1920s very inspiring and beautiful," says Riet. "Artists really thought about shape, material, details, and function—things that we also find very important when we are making our designs." Truus echoes her sister. "This era was one of great renewal in art, fashion, and dance. Early steps toward women's emancipation were made during this period, too. Notions of the ideal woman began to transform."
Who said that feminists don't wear cocktail dresses?…We
think it is important for girls to emphasize their female side,
not deny it.