If it wasn’t the ‘70s, it was the ‘60s that designers revisited this season though no one did it quite like Michael van der Ham. Looking at the iconic ‘60s fashion magazine Intro, he inflected its delectable psychedelic tripiness into reincarnating Parker Posey’s equally iconic heroine from 90s flick Party Girl into the 21st century girl. The result was pure van der Ham magic, from the artfully deconstructed prints, jacquards and knit intarsias echoing Intro’s collaged layouts to the appliquéd tops and pencil skirt sets, which recalled Posey’s sassy socialite-turned-librarian style, complete with candy-coloured tights and gorgeous Christian Louboutin suede loafers. The colour palette was also on point with powder pinks and citrus shades mixed with slate gray and dark blue shades turning every garment into an individual tableau, each outfit into an artful (party girl) collision.
On a quest to refine his signature collage technique, van der Ham did well to refocus it from joining jarring fabrics to distilling textures on separates. Less heavy on the eye, it allowed for the more sophisticated details to shine though: the embossed lace, frayed chiffon applique, jewelled hemlines, the crystal-encrusted flowers softened by sheets of organza overlays. Velvet also played a delectable part in the detailing, appearing in the form of bodices or seductive straps falling on the shoulder from underneath kimono sleeves. It wasn't all sugar and spice however, and no wonder: it was van der Ham after all who had replicated moth-eaten and burnt holes as pattern and patchwork in his recent collections. This time however his deconstructive impulse focused on a split-hem technique, a less jarring yet more unsettling motif of the collection. Hems were dissected or partially slashed and left to hang onto the skirt, with contrasting silk or chiffon peaking from underneath the garment's anatomized layout. It went further, with skewed petticoats and deliberately awkward pencil skirt combinations, enhancing the collection's sartorial middle-ground between bookish preppy and elaborately disheveled.
Overall, it was an accomplished effort for van der Ham but one that slipped when it came to the fit and shape. However, judging from how effectively he elevated the cut-and-paste technique that initially put the brand on the radar, it would only be a matter of time before the applies that same precision to the cut and drape. Until then, there is plenty in this collection to admire, covet and treasure.
Michael Van Der Ham Fashion Show Ready To Wear Collection Spring Summer 2014
Michael Van Der Ham Fashion Show Ready To Wear Collection Fall Winter 2013
Michael Van Der Ham Fashion Show Ready To Wear Collection Spring Summer 2013