Michael van der Ham
September 16, 2013 London
This season he was inspired by Jackie Nickerson's book Farm, a photographic essay of Africans dressed in exotic fabrics. "I was riveted by the images," the designer said backstage. "They had such a way with working with fabric and body cover." And so does he: The multilayered patchwork thing he's known for was executed here with an almost scientific precision. With the early looks out—mash-ups of zebra prints, leopard, lime, and coral—he reinforced his signature, only with a more rigorous hand than before.
Then mid-show came the aha moment: a navy dress precisely, almost aggressively cut, but without that mismatched thing that has become his leitmotif. It's guaranteed to create a lot of interest on the shop floor. After that dress it was a bit of a comedown; a pair of evening gowns in particular didn't have the same finesse as that killer navy dress. But van der Ham had made his point about moving on—and it was duly noted.