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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Michael Van Der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham shows his first solo collection on the platforms of the old Eurostar terminal. Illustrated by Krister Selin

Written by Matt Bramford

fashion illustration by Amy Martino

Illustration by Amy Martino

At the Bodyamr show, viagra 100mg the celebrities nearly outshone the clothes. Lily Allen, adiposity Nick Grimshaw, Keisha from the Sugababes and the TV Chef Gizzi Erskine all waltzed in past us mere mortals crammed outside the Vauxhall Fashion Scout hall, (made more manic by the decision to cram two presentations into one catwalk show) cue much jostling and craning of necks by my fellow bloggers to get a good photo.

Once inside, the celeb fest continued – the press release reeled off a list of starlets who loved Bodyamr (Florence Welch, Beyonce, and Cheryl Cole dontcha know), and the crowd whispered about Daisy Lowe opening the show and Kanye West’s girlfriend Amber Rose closing. The scrum for goodie bags as everyone sat down added to the excitement – a recent collaboration with Rixos hotels meant a rather bizarre mix of hotel freebies and glossy brochures was under every seat.

As for the clothes – Bodyamr do a fine line in creating flattering, skin-tight looks for powerful women (hence the appeal for starlets). True to form, their inspiration for S/S 2011 was a cross between Josephine Baker wrapping jewels ‘seductively around her naked body’ and a 90s supermodel. It was a fun, glamorous collection, with pieces that wouldn’t look out of place in Studio 54 (sequins, kaftan style dresses, jersey, Grecian draping), a nice dose of body con and some sheer chiffon dresses printed with art deco jewels (there’s the naked Josephine Baker for you). There was even some slouchy, slinky daywear amongst the goddess dresses tailor-made for the red carpet. And yes, Daisy looked amazing – I just hope people weren’t too star-struck to notice her beautifully draped white jersey jumpsuit.

Illustration by Krister Selin

I was very excited to see what NEWGEN winner Michael Van Der Ham would have in store this season at his first solo show. He’s quickly rising up the fashion ranks – he only bloody graduated a year ago, erectile for God’s sake, more about and it was inevitable that this was going to be a good ‘un.

A quick cycle across Waterloo Bridge took me to the erstwhile Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo Station. London Fashion Week is SO much better by bike. Despite the odd trauma here and there, specific to my unlucky self, to be able to zip between the many venues without relying on public transport is a Godsend.

The building is like a ghost town these days since the firm’s relocation to St Pancras. Apparently it’s costing millions to upkeep, so hopefully Topshop’s little foray into hosting fashion events there has helped. Sir Phillip Green certainly doesn’t need the money, that’s for sure.

Directed by awkward looking teenagers dressed in grey branded bolier suits, we were ushered through the labyrinth that is left behind. There’s something a bit spooky about it – escalators are motionless, luggage belts are empty and all electrical devices like light-up signs for directions are, of course, turned off. There’s also a sense of poignancy in the air in this abandoned haunt. Nobody else seemed to sense this misery as they clacked around on their heels, so this might have been due to the eight coffees I had consumed that morning. Arriving at the top with the beautiful afternoon light bathing through the glass roof was quite something, though.

I had a little wander around, Ham-ing it up and taking a few pics of people glugging booze, and then a loud speaker announced that we should take our seats. The catwalk was the very last platform on the south side of the building, with tiered seating on one side only. Those models sure were close to the track. I did worry, especially after the trend of tumbling models we’ve seen this season.

The usual front rowers were there, including Alexandra Shulman, Brix Smith Start, Anna Dello Russo, and Sarah Mower. While it was nice to be in the daylight, the building doesn’t allow for any dramatic changes in light, so without any prior warning the show began. It’s a long catwalk n’all – there I was, worrying again that these models might not have eaten and would pass out from all that exercise.

Illustration by Krister Selin

Michael Van Der Ham’s clothing is a little odd when you first view it – seams are all over the place, fabrics are diverse, colours clash, outfits are classifiable on one side and then something totally different by the other. But somehow, they work. Rich tones of blue, pale and hot pinks, graphic patterns and pale colours all combine to make unique pieces and were styled very simply to allow them to have maximum impact. Themes like disco and dance spring to mind.

Because of Michael’s expert fusing of varying fabrics and cuts, there isn’t really any kind of silhouette to talk about – skirts were short, and then long; necklines were high, and then low; waists were diagonal and then horizontal, sleeves were short and then high – there was bias cut, flattering fabrics, body-con fabrics, the lot… I was a nervous wreck by the time the show finished. It’s all pretty baffling but beautiful to look at.

My favourite elements were crushed velours and velvets, embellished skirts, skirts that had been gathered to create gorgeous, soft shapes, and floating translucent fabrics that were attached like super-hero capes.

It’s a brave woman that can pull off the Michael Van Der Ham look. But those who can, should.

All photography by Matt Bramford


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