Vintage late 1970s 2-piece royal blue plaid cotton dress from Koos van den Akker features his signature collage-in-fabric approach to fashion design, mixing patterns and fabrics while channeling Americana with its Western-style blouse and flounced prairie skirt.
Made of a crisp but soft broadcloth in blue, red, and yellow tattersall check, the dolman-sleeved blouse with button cuffs is pieced with contrasting yet complementary fabrics. The yoke, button placket, and cummerbund-wide attached waist sash are of brushed flannel in a tartan-style plaid of red, black, yellow, blue, and white—with the blue, yellow and red an exact color match for those in the tattersall pattern. The yoke is piped, front and back, with black and white polka dotted trim.
The midi-length skirt has an easy elastic waist, onseam pockets and contrast trim to define its three tiers: Polka-dotted piping at hip level, and a combination of polka-dotted piping and tartan plaid trim edging the bottom of the two flounces.
Both pieces are unlined and labeled: “KOOS Koos van den Akker, New York”, and tagged a vintage size 10.
Born in Holland, Koos van den Akker began designing women’s clothing as an 11 year old to support himself. He studied fashion as a teenager in Paris and apprenticed for Dior in the late 50s, then briefly operated a boutique in the Hague before emigrating to New York City in 1968. Inspired by his own humble beginnings and the resilience of the poor in recycling hand me downs by patching and restyling them, he made an art of piecing designs out of “collaged” fabrics. By 1980, he was selling both custom pieces to celebrities (like Diana Vreeland, Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gloria Vanderbilt) and ready-to-wear collections to department and specialty stores as well as in his Madison Avenue boutique. His garments were featured in exhibits in NYC art museums at least twice, in 1977 at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, and in 2014, shortly before his death, at the Folk Art Museum.
The Met Costume Institute has a number of Koos van den Akker garments, including two late 70s pieces quite similar to the dress being offered here, both with flounced prairie skirts and button front blouses (one with Western-style appliquéd yoke, and the other with wide, attached waist sash). Please let me know if you’d like me to share the URL to see them.
Blouse bust 36-38”, shoulders (approx.) 15.5”, sleeves 26”, and length center back to hem 25”.
Skirt waist 26-28”, hips 38”, and length 33.5”.
This beautiful, versatile, and easy-to-wear offering from a highly original designer is in excellent condition with no flaws to note.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild
Vintage 1970s Koos Van Den Akker Blue Mixed Plaids Cotton Dress S/M