On the last of Jan Jansen – 60 years & Dutch Design

The exhibition ‘On the Last of Jan Jansen – 60 Years of Shoes and Dutch Design in Museum JAN in Amstelveen in the Netherlands, shows six decades of iconic work by shoe designer Jan Jansen together with the work of Dutch designers.

For more than 60 years, Jan Jansen has been a master of colorful, extravagant and groundbreaking shoe design. He achieved world fame with his idiosyncratic working method and technical constructions that challenge gravity, such as the ‘floating heel’. His work is seen as a source of inspiration for generations of designers after him. The exhibition honors the extensive oeuvre of the designer – who celebrates his 80th birthday this spring – and shows parallels with work by, among others: couturier Ronald van der Kemp (RVDK), product designers Lex Pott and Mae Engelgeer and fashion talent Lisa Konno. With this exhibition, Museum JAN offers a platform to young talent and shows the cross-generational influence of the work of Jan Jansen. Shoe designer Jan Jansen (Nijmegen, 1941) has thousands of designs to his name and is a fashion icon at home and abroad. His shoe designs combine comfort and craft with innovative design, with a wink. It is not without reason that Vogue Italia affectionately calls him ‘the crazy shoe maker’. Explosive use of color is characteristic of every shoe of his hand. Jan Jansen is an intuitive designer and averse to fashion trends, which is expressed in organic, playful shapes and experimental use of materials. In 1973 he designed his famous ‘Bamboo Shoe’: a shoe with a high bamboo construction as a wedge heel. To keep waste to a minimum, Jan Jansen reuses his lasts and leftovers of leather are processed in patchwork and details that adorn his shoes.

Shoes and Dutch Design
On the basis of a selection of iconic shoe designs by Jan Jansen, striking aspects of his design style are central. Next to each shoe, work is placed by designers who have a similar style or method, or who are inspired by the well-known shoe designer. His patchwork, for example, shows similarities with the way Ronald van der Kemp reuses his fabrics. The brightly colored cheerfulness of Bas Koster’s collections is in line with Jansen’s use of color. Fashion designer Karim Adduchi creates a modern interpretation of an old craft with his outfits of traditional Berber woven rugs, an aspect that is characteristic of Jan Jansens craftsmanship. And the way in which David Laport defies the laws of nature with his pleated blind that remains up like ‘whirling skirts’ is reminiscent of the famous ‘floating heel’. In one of the rooms of the museum, an overview of Jan Jansen’s work over a period of 60 years is displayed. Lisa Goudsmit is guest curator of the exhibition and selected the work of the Dutch designers.

The memoirs of the designer will be published in a limited, signed edition especially for the exhibition.

Museum JAN
Museum JAN is a museum in Amstelveen for visual art and excels in glass art. The own collection consists of unique glass objects, brought together by the founder Jan van der Togt. He collected top international art and searched for what fascinated him aesthetically. In addition to this distinctive collection, Museum JAN offers a broad and appealing exhibition program.

Museum JAN
Dorpsstraat 50, 1182 JE Amstelveen, NL.

Opening hours (temperoraly closed till April 20)
Tuesday t/m sunday :11.00 – 17.00 uur
On show from April 2 till August 29 2021.

Photo fashion: Lisa Konno.