Season after season Michael van der Ham creates clothes which defy the imagination and creative capabilities of all but the most talented designers. Always pivoting on his love for fabric, colour and print, van der Ham was this season inspired by Joan Miró’s surrealist art and the portraits of Malian photographer Malick Sidibé. Whilst not obvious, either conceptually or in creation, it is almost immaterial what inspired van der Ham – what is really important is his obsession with what he is creating.
The sheer amount of work that goes into one of van der Ham’s dresses is incredible. Sourcing fabrics of just the right shade, texture and print or, failing that, hand painting them himself when necessary goes above and beyond the call of duty. One also gets the sense that a fair amount of time consuming trial and error must go on in the Michael van der Ham studios. His garments teeter on the edge of ‘too much’ or ‘unwearable’ but never quite go over the edge, stopped by their creator at the fine line of ‘beautiful’, evidencing an innate sense within van der Ham which can’t be taught.
Text: Zoe Dickens