Michael's A/W '10 collection at Fashion East
Dutch designer Michael van der Ham’s patchwork ‘Borrowers’ type dresses have been so successful that the label he set up after completing his MA in womenswear is an insider’s highlight at London Fashion Week (see this week's Grazia to read our story about why the designer is our One To Watch this season). Originally he showed as part of Fashion East, and now he has his first solo catwalk show, thanks to NEWGEN. Because Michael is working so hard on getting his collection made now, he requested that we fire questions at him electronically, rather than make him leave his studio. Soooo . . here goes!
Grazia Daily: How has your experience of NEWGEN been so far and what does having a show mean to you?
Michael van der Ham: It is really great to have such a great and cohesive support system behind me. I feel terribly spoiled to have received my own show this September.
GD: You studied at Central Saint Martins and worked for Sophia Kokosalaki and Alexander McQueen. Was there a particular event or inspiration that made you want to go into fashion originally or is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
MVDH: Nothing really particular except that I just used to draw a lot of clothes when I was younger. I truly didn't know what to do later when I was a kid, but when I started to study fashion I knew it was the right thing.
GD: Your own collections are instantly recognizable, for their clash of textures and fabrics. Can you talk a bit about your construction? Are the pieces one-offs or do you have them produced in a factory?
MVDH: It's quite a long process for each dress, but I basically collect a lot of different fabrics that I know will clash with each other in a good way. Then I apply them to the designs, which have first been "toiled" [a prototype of the design made up in a linen fabric]. I sometimes have three quarters of a dress made, then I hold different fabric options up for the missing section, before finishing the dress. They are not one-offs and I now work with factories in
GD: Do you have a muse – celebrity or otherwise? Who would you most like to see wearing your clothes?
MVDH: I really don't think about one specific type of woman wearing my work. I like to think the collections appeal to lots of different girls and women that have completely different tastes and ages from each other.
GD: What other designers do you like, either contemporary or from any time?
MVDH: Elsa Schiaparelli
The brilliant scarves he's made for TOPSHOP!
GD: Can you give us any hints or clues about the S/S ’11 collection?
MVDH: Top secret, of course.
GD: Are you working flat out at the moment? Are you stressed or under control?
MVDH: [I work] very long days, but I'm working mornings instead of late nights which works for me. So an average work day is 5am to about 8pm.
GD: Is there any other news, or any other projects you are working on or looking forward to you would like to tell us about?
MVDH: I'm really excited about the scarves I designed for Topshop. They are basically giant multicoloured collages printed onto silk satin.
Also my new collaboration with Swarovski is turning out really great....
How cool that all sounds! Right Michael, we won’t keep you a moment longer!
Michael's scarves are available at Topshop from the start of London Fashion Week (this Friday!) onwards and cost a very reasonable £75.
- Naomi Attwood