Dutch Fashion Designer Mattijs van Bergen and Artist Oeri van Woezik collaborated on an iconic dress, a project that was initiated and produced by Arnout van Krimpen and Jochem Kaan for COC Amsterdam. The unveiling of the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress took place on Friday, August 5th at COC’s Shakespeare Club at the Amsterdam Museum. The dress, which measures over 52 feet, was constructed of the flag of Amsterdam and of national flags of countries that still penalize homosexuality (72 countries), underlines the importance of freedom of expression, safety, openness and diversity that is offered to the LGBTQI-community by the city of Amsterdam. Model Valentijn de Hingh presented the dress and photographer Pieter Henket shot a set of stunning promotional images at the Rijksmuseum, in front of Rembrandt’s famous Nightwatch.
Amsterdam Rainbow Dress
The dress is a co-creation of fashion designer Mattijs van Bergen and artist Oeri van Woezik. In the dress, the national flags of countries where homosexuality is still penali-zed under criminal law were incorporated. The importance of Amsterdam’s ambition to remain open to LGBTQI-refugees is underlined, becoming a safe haven for those who are persecuted because of their sexual or gender identity. “The idea arose spontaneously when the flags that were part of the Pride Walk were offered to us. With this dress we wanted to translate the international message of the flag parade during Pride Walk / Pink Saturday to a local statement of connection in Amsterdam”, says Arnout van Krimpen of COC Amsterdam.
The city of Amsterdam has been, and always will be, an undeniable part of the LGBTQI-community. Striving for acceptance, emancipation, visibility and inclusivity, the Amster-dam Rainbow Dress aims to strengthen COC Amsterdam’s goals while the international allure of the project is evident. With this in mind, no other location was more suitable to photograph the dress than the acclaimed Rijksmuseum, right in front of Rembrandt’s iconic Nightwatch. Both nationally and internationally recognizable, this famed painting serves as the pinnacle of Amsterdam as a city of freedom. Top photographer Pieter Hen-ket’s striking images perfectly capture the intentions of the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress.
Van Bergen and Van Woezik underline the importance of freedom of expression: “Being allowed to be yourself, doing what you feel is right, freedom of expression, is essential for eveybody’s happiness and personal development. That freedom of love is still restric-ted in so many countries is frightful. Gay pride is not just about parties and celebration, it also offers momentum to make clear what is of universal importance to all people.”
After EuroPride 2016
Every year, legislation of the countries presented in the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress will be checked. If homosexuality is no longer illegal, the corresponding flag shall be remo-ved from the dress and replaced with a rainbow flag. This shall be presented in an annu-al ‘Amsterdam LGBTQI Freedom Ceremony”.
Design | Mattijs van Bergen & Oeri van Woezik
Concept & Production | Arnout van Krimpen & Jochem Kaan for COC Amsterdam
Photography | Pieter Henket Studio
Producer Pieter Henket Studio | Roger Inniss – Boom productions Inc
Model | Valentijn De Hingh – Paparazzi Models
Hair & Make-up | Jan Fuite – House of Orange
Camera & edit | Roland Pupupin
Special thanks to:
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam/Erik van Ginkel, Seven Eleven Rent, COC Amsterdam, Peter de Ruijter, Amsterdam Museum