There are times when I sit down to watch a fashion show, look at the show notes, and wonder if the person writing them has actually seen the collection. Notes for today’s Michael van der Ham’s fall/winter 2014 collection said to expect a line that is “irreverent” and influenced by the 1960s. Okay, I can’t deny the 1960s psychedelic vibe to some of the looks. The color palette alone points to that generation. “Irreverent” is stretching it a bit, though. I looked around carefully and not once, through the entire show, did anyone near me look the least bit offended. If this is irreverent, then the previous Peter Pilotto show was absolutely scandalous.
What is noticeable about this collection, right off the bat, is those colors. They are unquestionably bright and with the over-sized floral prints they definitely give a gentle nod back to the Summer of Love. This is not a retro collection, though. The deconstructed skirts and drop hems alone destroy any claim in that direction. While the prints are floral, they are very graphic, with sharp, clear lines unlike the soft airbrush-influenced patterns of 40-plus years ago. Crocheted skirts and dresses are quite nice, but when laid over silk chemise they take on a whole new depth.
Speaking over overlays, van der Ham gets a 3D look going with beadwork and applique on sheer overlays that is as dramatic as it is impressive. My only concern, and this is the parent in me coming out, is that cleaning these garments requires more care than the young adult audience for which it is intended is likely to give. These are not pieces to just leave around on the floor if one expects them to last more than one wearing. Still, the visual impact alone is reason enough to consider purchasing one of these dresses.
This isn’t a huge collection. Van der Ham pushes it a little by changing color and styling on a few ensembles so he could push the set to 30 ensembles. Still, what he does here is very impressive and probably more well tailored than some of the larger brands doing 60s looks. Definitely want to pay attention this fall.