Interview with Jacoba de Jonge

The exhibition ‘Living Fashion’ Women’s Daily Wear 1750-1950 presents only 100 silhouettes from the 2500 items of the Jacoba de Jonge collection.

The story of the Jacoba de Jonge collection began when Jacoba was 15, with an heirloom, a wedding dress of reinforced silk, which she was allowed to try on because she was bored during a birthday party for her great aunt. The incredible heavy skirt, pulled her torso backwards, so that she stood ramrod straight, with a hollow back. She was barely able to walk, sit or move her arms. This made her realize how great an impact clothes had on the way people behaved.

She was allowed to rummage through her grandmother’s attic, where she discovered a veritable treasure trove, she suddenly had an entire collection of accessories with which to complement her acquisition.

Initially, she was not very knowledgeable about what she was doing. Her basic knowledge of the history of fashion came from a small book that her grandmother had given her.

In 1961, Jacoba presented an initial fashion show with her pieces, for a girls’ student association. The reactions were good, and Jacoba began giving more shows, inevitably completed by new acquisitions, not infrequently from the wardrobes and the fancy-dress chests of well-to-do families.

From this point, donations began arriving! Eventually, people found their way to her from all across the Netherlands.

‘People often do not realize what they have. They are delighted to have more information about their gifts and are happy that they can be conserved.’

Today, the Fashion Museum has plans to make the collection partially available as a study collection in MoMu’s library, for (fashion) students are researchers.
After all ‘things like this are learned over time, through physical contact, not just from lectures’.

This text is based on the catalogue ‘Living Fashion’
By Karen Van Godtsenhoven