Graduating to his first solo show as part of the Topshop schedule, held out at the grand and industrial Eurostar Tunnel in Waterloo, Michael van der Ham's collection of composite fabrics, colours and textures was strong and well executed, if nothing fantastically new, for the young designer. Drawing together a whole host of elements including silks, prints, embroidered fabrics, devore print, sheer and poplin fabrics, van der Ham's asymmetrical dresses did still provide a fresh outlook on womenswear. Composite scarf pieces combined with ruched shoulder detailing and draped fabric bodies gave an elegant feel, while punchier cropped dresses in contrasting colours added a tougher yet still very chic side to the collection.
Adding in pieces like the high waisted, wide legged trousers, all in simple darker colours, and also pleat front trousers, gave the collection a wearable element and showed that the Dutch designer has more to him than at first glance. Putting his clever design ideas, and his understanding of both how to dress a woman well and create something that is commercially accessible, together it is clear to see why industry insiders as diverse as Tim Blanks, Anna Dello Russo or Fred Butler came down to see the show.
Dazed Digital: How did you feel about the show?
Michael van der Ham: Good actually, although I was nervous. It was very organised this time which was great, and different! I'm actually really looking forward to watching it back as I haven't had a chance to see it all put together.
DD: Where did this seasons inspiration come from?
Michael van der Ham: I always like creating a montage and offsetting various elements, so, as always, that played a big part in this collection.
DD: What was your starting point?
Michael van der Ham: I always begin from a textile point of view, using a fabric or material as the first point of reference and building up from there. This time round I really wanted to go for devore prints, which gives the material a certain texture and depth that no other material has really.
DD: Where did you take your colours from?
Michael van der Ham: I really wanted to compound that idea of mix and match, the idea of combining very different elements and so this season I decided to flow through with that in my choice of colours. It wasn't hugely inspired by any one particular thing but I loved the contrast that the blues, acid pinks, lemon yellows and print and sequin elements created.
DD: Was there any one particular piece in the show that stood out for you?
Michael van der Ham: It is so hard to say when it your own collection but I think the finale gown was really beautiful, and something that I was really pleased with. The composition of colours and textures works well I think.
Photography by Billa Baldwin