Michael van der Ham


London: Although he possesses a unique vision and the talent to back it up, Michael van der Ham’s work thus far has always given away his young age, with artistic merits far outweighing practicality. This season’s surprisingly mature offering seemed heavily influenced by Rodarte. Comparisons to the California duo are inevitable; both espouse a couture-like collage approach to design, mixing various fabric “remnants” into seemingly one-of-a-kind garments. The point of difference lies in the technique – definable silhouettes and crisp tailoring under all the fabric manipulation speak of Van der Ham’s training at Central Saint Martins and experience at Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki, rather than Rodarte’s self-taught craftiness. Sleek pencil skirts and fitted bodices could be discerned from a patchwork of devoré velvet, linen and metallic jacquards. A Celine-meets-Comme des Garçons influence was evident in one ensemble that superimposed half an A-line skirt onto a draped framework. The designer also incorporated tailored garments, like high-waisted trousers and button-ups, within the fabric puzzle, and a color palette of dusty pastels, brights and greys united the disparate elements into an eye-pleasing pastiche. While the refinement and wearability of the collection lacked the emotional impact of some of his influences, Van der Ham has the vision and technical skills to take him far.

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