If there are families of style in fashion, Michael van der Ham is a London brother of New York’s Creatures of the Wind and Suno. This loosely linked tribe of assemblers of colors, textures, and prints, lovers of textiles and gently fitting pieces, has struck a chord with women who themselves are assemblers of looks that feel personal to them. It’s a market for women with a magpie eye for lovely surfaces, subtle glitter, and things which generally side-step the obvious clichés of prettiness.
The conundrum for van der Ham is how to present and develop that alternative, sensitive aesthetic within the constraints of the ordinary rules of the runway show. This time, it proved an unequal struggle for the individual appeal of van der Ham’s pieces to stand up within the vast space of the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Several of his dresses a blue sheath with 3-D flower appliqués, a couple of veiled organza dresses with sparkly underlayers of embroidery with Swarovski crystals, one with a draped velvet top and a gently flared skirt stood out, nevertheless. But perhaps he’d be smarter to resist the pressure of conforming to the strictures of the total-look runway performance all together. A presentation with intimacy would suit his talents, and the character of the women he speaks to, far better.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit / Source: VOGUE
Photos by KimWeston Arnold / Indigitalimages
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Michael van der Ham has a distinctly hands-on approach to conceptualizing a new collection, and his starting point is more likely to be found in the vaults of a storied French textile mill than pinned to a mood board. Having launched onto the scene straight out of Central Saint Martins four years ago in a riot of collaged dévoré, van der Ham has set up a richly textured playing field for his label, and this season lavish fille coupe jacquards caught his eye.