His collections are among the quirkiest and most easily recognizable on the London catwalk, he’s a connoisseur of textiles, an expert in patchwork and a charming guy who largely shuns the limelight, hanging out with his fellow East London cool kids rather than celebs . . oh yes, and he’s Dutch. Can you guess who it is yet? Michael Van der Ham! His intricate collaged beauties have graced the racks of Liberty for a while, yet it’s his latest TOPSHOP collection that has got our fashion pulses racing of late. That’s right, he’s come up with this mini range or gorgeous pantaloons, sumptuous devoré blouses and delightfully swaggy skirts to answer our LFW wardrobe dilemmas on the very eve of the first show! Thank you TOPSHOP!
We hampered him for some more details, and despite the last minute fashion week preparations, he agreed. And here is what he told us . . .
Grazia Daily: Hello Michael, we LOVE the collection! How did you come up with these 6 pieces? Are they based on a particular past collection (the trousers look like the ones you did for S/S ’11)?
Was it difficult getting it down to just 6 pieces?
Michael Van der Ham: As it is a capsule collection for Topshop I wanted to keep it all really fun and aimed at a younger girl. I had fun working into other devoré burnout velvets like my s/s11 collection and mixing them with silk crepe de chine and crepe marrocain in a really vivid colour palette.
GD: Last season for A/W ’11 you did something different from your previous collages of different fabrics and went all-out for crushed velvet. What can we expect next week for S/S ’12?
For example, can you give us a word or a reference of something that is inspiring you?
MVdH: Can't give too much away but I worked a lot with my own prints for S/S ‘12. Also I'm really trying to build my brand which means I still offer my signature dresses and tops but am expanding the range each season. This season there are a lot more knits that I have had made in Italy, there's bags, scarves too.
GD: All designers’ workloads increase massively in the lead up to Fashion Week. How do you cope with the stress? What will you do after you show is over?
MVdH: Normally I'm in a complete state however this season things are under control, so my stress levels are ok actually. After the show I'm going to have lunch with my mum, she's flying in to see the show, haven't seen her in 2 months, been so busy this summer. Then the day after the show I start surcing fabrics for a/w 12 so off to Paris for PV (fabric fair) and my Paris showroom to meet all the buyers top sell the s/s12 collection.
GD: Do you ever see girls out and about wearing your pieces? What’s the best place you ever saw one pop up, AND when you do see someone, would you ever go up to them and say ‘I made that?’
MVdH: Yes I do see girls out sometimes but I wouldn't go over and bother them!
Thank you so much Michael – see you at the show! Aww, what a nice chap!