Click sometime soon on Net-a-Porter, and you can catch a milestone of Michael van der Ham's young career. His Spring collection scored him that retail big whale for the first time, quite something for the Central Saint Martins grad whose first collection wowed the fashion set but seemed virtually impossible to produce. Since then, van der Ham's work has been to refine the cacophonous but clever collaging he's made his distinct signature and to nudge it forward. For Spring, he told the story with prints. This season he explored knitwear, another highly sellable category, which helped streamline his ideas, as in a color-blocked T-shirt and skirt, both with wavy stripes.
Van der Ham cited Veronica Lake and the Ziegfeld Follies as inspiration. Perhaps that old Hollywood gloss accounts for the amped-up luxury here. It stood out most in all the metallic—the gold lace that was appliquéd on a semi-sheer jacquard in soft skirts and burnished silver bouclé tops. As for those Follies, they came through in the blousy drama of the abstract prints worked into some dresses, and you struggled a little to let these grip you in the way that van der Ham's work can do. That wasn't an issue for the chic trio that closed the show; their components of top, skirt, and back of dress had an easier-to-parse simplicity. But not all was as it seemed. As two walked by you, you saw a flash of bright underskirt through a slit. They were like the three wise women, leading the way to a promising new direction.