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utch fashion designer Michael van der Ham graduated from Central Saint Martins and in 2009 launched his eponymous label. In 2013 Van der Ham won the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward prize and has since captured the attention of international stars including Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst, Diane Kruger, Claire Danes and Alexa Chung. Michael’s recognisable creative vision makes him one of the most sophisticated, independent designers on the London scene. Why did you decide to launch your own collection in 2009?

At the time of graduation my graduate collection was shown during the Central Saint Martins show. I was lucky enough to open the show and received a really positive response. Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East then gave me a chance to show at London Fashion Week and I grew the label from there on, bit by bit.

I use a lot of vintage fashion references. But instead of copying them, I use them as a starting point and re-fabricate and keep working into the designs. You have been involved in many collaborations and have designed costumes for celebrities including Bjork and Tori Amos. Are you currently working on any exciting projects?







signature Michael van der Ham style?

It differs each season but I suppose ornate textiles are the main component. I like to mix textiles and textures that normally don't match together too. Overall it's quite a feminine look. It's important to offer something that is kind of strange or odd in some way, I hate to end up with something twee! What inspires you when you are designing a collection?

Recently I worked on a series of bespoke gowns for Joanna Newsom's tour and a handmade bespoke dress for Kirsten Dunst's Cannes Film Festival appearance. SS17 will see the launch of your debut capsule collection for the Italian label Rary. What would you say has been the main inspiration behind the collection?

It's the largest collection I have worked on so far. It's actually split into 3 stories and a separate capsule.

There is a story in ivories and primary colours loosely based on antique Indian textiles. It's a reworked way of using decorative prints and using new base textiles mixed with them. A second part of the collection is all about abstract, small scale painterly prints again on a set of multi textured base fabrics. It came together after trying out various prints on metallics, mixing them with knits and abstract embroidery. Art Nouveau and Japanese prints make up a third story that is all about ornate placement prints featuring oversized florals and ornaments. For the additional capsule collection there are abstract fabrics like fringed Lurex, printed feathers on fuzzy base textiles and lots of metallics. The capsule was a more experimental approach to party dresses and knitwear. It's all about taking strange looking fabrics and working them into feminine pieces.

Scoop and the City: SS17  
Scoop and the City: SS17