Michael van der Ham – LFW SS’11

London Fashion Week saw the launch of many a designer’s solo show, one of whom was Michael van der Ham. Having spent the last two seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, his show was one of the most anticipated moments, with reason.

Sketchbook was invited backstage to preview the collection and report from the back-of-house. When I arrived, I wasn’t the only one; models were flooding in having arrived from previous shows, whilst hair and make-up were working away against Hollywood-style bulb framed mirrors, nevertheless the backstage area seemed calm and on-schedule for a prompt start.

MAC products was used on the models and make-up suprema, Hannah Murray directed the beauty looks for the show. “We’re doing a semi-circle of yellow for the eyes, using MAC chromoline product to create gorgeous haloes of sunshine, against pearly-effect skin and a relaxed cream blusher” she told me, “we wanted the models to look like they have healthy skin and keep the look simple”, “we’re just using mascara on the top lashes and we’re using MAC face + body cream for the body to give a healthy glow.” The look was focused on the mimosa yellow eyes, which were chosen to highlight the collection, which followed a palette of autumnal shades.

After a few backstage Krispy Kremes and some very unreadable notepad jotting, I was in the waiting lounge eating more food. This time lunch; mushroom and chicken soup served by the Topshop Cafe.

The collection followed true to Van Der Ham’s colourful collage aesthetic, but with less fuss and more of a grown-up vibe. Deep violets, hot pinks, olives and muted blues made the colour palette, which was featured in every material known to fashion editor. Velvet patterns highlighted chiffon drapes and structured silk bodices, whilst long silky trousers sat beneath architectural collage tops. I was especially drawn to the chartreuse velvet sandals, which also came in light sky blue editions and had oversized laces tied in suitable oversized bows.

After the show editors were raving about the jewellery , which was made up of bundles of swarovski crystals in bright shades of colour. Sarah Harris, my seating neighbour, told me that the long willowy trousers would surely be featured in Vogue under her watch, and possibly her wardrobe.

But out of all of the crafted dresses, it was the final look which stole the show, a large billowing evening dress with a white silk and rose body with crystal embroidery and a hypnotising dark purple chiffon trail.

WORDS: Osman Ahmed

IMAGES: Osman Ahmed