Michael Van Der Ham

In a season where London’s brightest design talents are experimenting with a more grown-up aesthetic, Michael Van Der Ham is leading the field. Following in the footsteps of Marques’Almeida, J JS Lee and even Louise Gray, the collage king today presented his most paired down and commercial collection to date. But has it lost its sparkle?

Gone are the pastels, popping colours and daringly vibrant mix of collaged textures, and in their place was a dark autumnal palette and a collection consisting largely of wearable yet simple separates.

SS13 had hinted at this shift but its only with AW13 has the change come into its own. Die-hard Michael Van Der Ham fans may find this difficult to digest but fear not, this is a seriously inspiring and experimental collection, you just have to dig a little deeper to see it.

Taking inspiration from vintage couture and references to deconstructed, destroyed and worn out clothes, Van Der Ham presented a series of pieces with uneven hems, muted palettes, subtly contrasting fabrics and played with the idea of layering fabrics.

Boxy brocade tops were worn over print and jacquard trousers, skirts combined printed silk organza with satin under-layers in contrasting colour and print. Embroidered cut-outs revealed satin under layers worn with graphic striped tops and flecked with prints and textured stitching. This is layering, the Michael Van Der Ham way.

It was look 23 however that really shifted the collection up a gear. With the first introduction of velvet, there was no looking back. Beautiful, sublime and truly fabulous mixing of labour-intensive and intricately embellished metal on silk dresses was mixed with velvet applique and abstract patterns of flecks, spots, florals and ornamented textures.

It was clever and intriguing, beautiful and wearable. What more do you need?