Tim van Steenbergen
March 09, 2004 Paris
These high jinks shouldn't detract from the seriousness with which van Steenbergen approaches the task in hand. (Sometimes too seriously: While not as wildly conceptual as some, he doesn't always grasp that fashion should flatter. There was an unpleasant moment when a patchwork velvet skirt that could have been worn by about three people hovered into view.) That misstep notwithstanding, Van Steenbergen is down with what a certain cool girl wants to wear. He understands that there is just as much room in her closet for crepe de chine as there is for washed, worn-looking cotton canvas. The faded navy parka with a voluminous back and deep ribbed cuffs was wonderful, ditto the wasp-waist jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves and the washed silk bias-cut dresses in scarlet or chocolate.
On the runway, the way these clothes are put together can look like too much. But the trick with a designer like this is to cherry pick; the individual finds can be rather good.