Threads for Cockaigne
Martijn van Strien
Photography: Imke Ligthart
“The Land of Cockaigne is a mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury from medieval tales. Paintings depicting European kings and nobles of the era from the Dark Ages through to the Age of Enlightenment remind of this tale. They show a nearly dreamlike display of the most extravagantly chic clothes seen in man’s history. Nobility had themselves portrayed wearing clothes that made exuberant use of furs and delicate handcrafted materials such as quilts, embroideries and ruffled collars.
Inspired by these characters, lavishly showing off their wealth and status, I translated the materials and techniques used in their clothing into modern time, creating a contemporary ode to one of histories’ most luxurious fashion eras.
I created this series of 4 parts of garments by combining the processes of designing materials and designing clothing. The pieces make maximum use of the structural qualities of the textile to give shape to the final outfit. They could either be worn on their own or added to a garment. The textile isn’t cut or confectioned, only the endings of the fabric are brought together. By allowing the textile to show its unprocessed form, the final look of the product is prescribed by the choice of bindings made in the woven material.
Using new synthetic yarns I created textiles that have elastic and voluminous qualities at the same time. They evoke the look and feel of a historical type of attire in a new way.”