Michael van der Ham made his name designing pretty dresses pieced together from contrasting scraps of patterned fabrics. In the past couple years, he's refined his patchwork technique, polishing the look of his clothes by emphasizing methodical tailoring and developing off-kilter materials and prints in-house. This season, showing his first Resort collection, van der Ham brought his tailoring and his signature materials to the fore, creating a smallish range of streamlined shift dresses, pencil skirts, and fitted tops. These simple silhouettes provided him with a nice canvas for his fabrics—fuzzy, printed jacquards, soigné bouclés and brocades, and a variety of silks patterned in ways redolent of the original van der Ham collage dresses.
The cuts everywhere were impeccable, and there was a nice sense of detail, as in the gathers around the collarbone of a cutout blouse. These clothes will do well at retail, in particular the simplest looks, such as a narrow bouclé shift. Still, it was hard to escape the sense that the collection was a little too undemanding, although it's understandable that van der Ham would hew conservative and commercial for Resort, especially his first time out. Here's hoping that he pushes his silhouettes a little more next season and that he gives himself more rein to play with the weird, gaudy, ugly aspect of his aesthetic. Those furry jacquards, for instance, were genuinely idiosyncratic and almost grotesque—and in fact, van der Ham said he'd be using a version of the material again for Spring. Seems like a good start.