News & Runway

Michael van der Ham Spring 2014: Strong and Tailored, but Ladylike

images: imaxtree

images: imaxtree

Michael van der Ham has only been showing his collections solo for a handful of years and already his vibrant cut-and-paste aesthetic is almost instantly recognizable. Though he's been refining his look each season—indeed, last fall's showing was less on the overt collage—it's still a signature that screams van der Ham.

This spring, the Dutch designer largely continued in this direction. The dresses and matching shirt/skirt sets, plus two pairs of pants, were collages comprised of undeniably elegant materials and done in a really cool-but-subtle way. Think smooth florals with draped silks, clever lace compositions and piecing reminiscent of natural bodies of water—lakes, rivers. The color schemes and patterns felt more intuitive this time around, as none of the looks strike any sort of impossible combination, which van der Ham has certainly pulled off before with great skill.

The palette is darker this time around, favoring lots of navy, black, gray. Accents in yellow and orange are an easy reminder of the season, but it's overall a nice avoidance of a spring stereotype. Van der Ham's silhouettes are strong and tailored but ladylike—giving a bit of structure to the designer's typical print madness.

This spring collection felt subdued for van der Ham, even considering multiple dresses with several major components, including sheer cut-outs. That's not to discredit the thought behind these pieces—which was undoubtedly great—only to point out the farther reaching appeal these looks will likely have.

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