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With the death of fashion designer Hans Kemenck (75), the Dutch fashion world has lost a pioneer. Kimink, who died on Sunday, was the driving force behind fashion label Puck & Hans from the late 1960s to 1998, along with his wife, Puck Kroon.
The fashion brand the two founded became popular in the late 1960s, especially among urbanites. Kemmink and Kroon have opened stores in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. There they not only sold their own collection, but were also the first to sell items of clothing to such great foreign designers as Jean Paul Gaultier and Kenzo Takada in the Netherlands.
The duo created groundbreaking designs that stood out due to the mix of prints and the use of innovative materials. Amazing costumes that came at a high price, but remained practical – the designers wanted to wear their clothes on the street.
The fashion label received a boost from many artists who wore the designs on stage. In 1975, Getty Caspers and her band Teach In won the Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands in creating Buck & Hans: a floral blouse with a white culotte skirt.
A global audience watched Kaspers’ Puck & Hans costume:
Princess Irene, actress Adèle Bloemendaal and presenter Sonja Barend have also joined forces with Puck & Hans. A little later, the brand was loved by saxophonist Candy Dolver and singers Suzanne and Monique Clément of Loïs Lane.
The popularity of the fashion label has gradually extended beyond national borders. The designs were sold at luxury New York store Bloomingdale’s, among others, and artist Marina Abramović was a fan. In 1987, the duo won the Fil d’Or International Fashion Award.
However, world fame was not aspired to by the fashion couple. They preferred to stay in the Netherlands where they could give their daughter – photographer Carmen Kemenck – a carefree childhood.
When Kemmink and Kroon announced in 1997 that they would stop designing, they were named Knights of the Orange-Nassau Medal. In 2017, a retrospective exhibition of their work at the Amsterdam Museum followed. The documentary was made about preparing for this exhibition Puck & Hans – Made in Holland created.
Kimink was self-taught. After his career in fashion, he continued to work as a photographer for many years, which is also a profession that he taught himself. “We may no longer have stores or make our own clothes, but you wouldn’t be too old to learn,” Kimink told Esquire magazine in 2020.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”