After three seasons on the London catwalks, everyone knows that Michael van der Ham can collage. Like Gareth Pugh does goth, Erdem does print, Christopher Kane does whatever takes his fancy, Michael does fabric collage. And he's brilliant at it. But after three seasons of that (picking up Bjork as a big fan along the way), people did wonder where he'd go next with it.
The Dutchman answered that with his AW '11 collection yesterday, by showing a collection based largely on...well...collage. But rather than merging different fabrics on each dress as previous, this season Michael kept the fabrics the same, but moved forward his complicated technique. He opened the show with eight beautifully draped velvet dresses in rich jewel colours, some paired with gold cuffs, but these dresses barely need any accessories. The rest of the colection was also grouped, into sophisticated knitwear, mental but oddly sexy fringing - on trousers, skirts and even bags - and finally outerwear, a first for Michael. Although the separates could easily be chopped and changed throughout the sections.
It goes without saying that Michael van der Ham is an incredible talent, and has already built up a reputation as a young Brit designer who will deliver his orders easily on time to stores (you would be horrified to learn about those who don't). However, thanks to this collection Michael has proved that he is much more than just one idea, he is carving out quite a niche for himself and is building a strong identity, but he can't do it on his own. For those who may criticise the finish on a trouser, perhaps consider how it can be improved instead.
For his next season Michael needs to continue to build his business, and this is the perfect time for sponsors to leap on this unique talent. Again he has proved that he is a designer worth every penny.
- Kay Barron