The Fool Design Collective consisted of Marijke Koger, Simon Posthuma, Yosha Leeger and Barry Finch – Leeger’s fiancee, Marijke Koger was the ‘leader’ of the group. Koger started her first boutique, The Trend, in Amsterdam at the age of 18 with her friend from school, Yosha Leeger. Around that time, she met Simon Posthuma. Soon after, the three moved to the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Once in Ibiza they were discovered by photographer Karl Ferris among the island’s hippie community. He took photographs of clothes designed by them, and sent them to London where they were published in The Times and immediately caused a sensation. Ferris took The Fool back to London, and together they opened a studio, with the Dutch artists producing clothes and art, and Ferris pursuing photography.
Then everything followed. George Harrison’s place in Surrey and the eye drawn to his fireplace, opulently decorated all over with highly-coloured painted scenes of lush reclining figures and drooping vegetation. The same fauna and flora bustle over John Lennon’s piano and Roll Royce. The guitars and drums of The Cream. The dream-like covers of the new LPs of The Hollies and The Incredible String Band. The Beatles new clothing store facade, interior decor ans most of the costumes sold there. The Procul Harum scarlet performing clothes and the list goes on.
The illustrations The Fool Design Collective did for Saville Theatre, which belonged to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, brought them to the attention of The Beatles themselves. John Lennon and Paul McCartney came round one evening to Marijke and Simon’s place, and were absolutely mesmerised by the psychedelic paintings on their armoire.
The “Fool” engaged several dozen art students to paint a huge psychedelic mural across the entire front and side of the store. But instant complaints from local merchants soon had them erasing the mural.
Pete Shotton managed the store with Pattie Harrison’s sister Jennie. Invitations to the grand opening, on 5 December 1967, read ‘Come at 7.46. Fashion Show at 8.16.’ John and George were the only Beatles that attended. The only drink available that night was apple juice.
The origin of The Fool’s name was from the Tarot card Arcana Zero, which shares a name with a wild trump card. The Fool card, Posthuma said, “represents Truth, spiritual meaning, and the circle which expresses the universal circumference in which gravitate all things.”
Apple Boutique eventually closed down in July 1968 – after merely seven months, during which it had lost nearly £100.000. To maintain the spirit of the store, The Beatles decided to give away all the remaining stock on the last day. As Ringo remembers: We went in the night before and took everything we wanted. We had loads of shirts and jackets – we cleaned a lot of stuff out. It wasn’t a sale, we just gave it all away and that was the best idea. Paul adds: The nice thing was that we weren’t too fussed when it didn’t work out (…) It was great: giving the clothes to people who showed up on the day.
Film director Joe Massot commissioned The Fool Design Collective to create the Wonderwall. They were already known for decorating the Apple Boutique building exterior,painting John Lennon’s Rolls Royce and George Harrison’s Mini Cooper. Simone Postuma was the painter and Marijke Koger was the graphic artist, while Josje Leeger designed and made clothes, including several of Jane Birkin’s costumes.
The film’s soundtrack was George Harrison debut solo album, Wonderwall Music, and was the first release for The Beatles’ company Apple Records. The recording sessions took place at the EMI Abbey Road Studios and at Ravi Shankar’s studio in Bombay, India, with The Remo Four‘s Colin Manly and Tony Ashton, as well as Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr all becoming involved.
Jane Birkin wearing designs by The Fool Design Collective for the Wanderwall film.
The Fool Design Collective, 1968. Behind them the amazing painted cabinet which ‘appeared’ in the film “Wonderwall”
Evolution album cover artwork was created for the Hollies, with the psychedelic cover photo by Karl Ferris, who is credited with creating the first truly psychedelic photograph for an album cover.
Outfit designed by Marijke Koger for the Summer Sunday Fashion Line. Modeled by Raquel Welch, 1971.
Before even meeting the Beatles, Koger and Posthuma were commissioned by Robert Stigwood, Cream’s manager, to work their artistic magic on Cream’s instruments, album cover and costumes.
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