Thursday, January 28, 2010

Karssenberg & Greidanus

Everyone has had a bit of a punkrock / deathmetal phase in their fashion lives. Mine was the embarrassing kind, with ripped-up jeans, poorly dyed hair and sabotaged slayer shirts.

Karssenberg & Greidanus are certainly pulling off their phase with a lot more finesse; black sweeping designs with intricate and edgy body-jewellery were met with extravagant layers of leather. My absolute favourite (of the whole day) were their studded cloaks.

Leather wraps were adorned with chains and beautiful billowing knits were skewered with metal rods.

Some of the deconstructed materials showed a slight Rodarte-resemblence, but in contrast with sturdy leather and intricate metalwork became statement Karssenberg & Greidanus!


Elsien Gringhuis

The last time I remember trembling in my seat was during Iris van Herpen's impressive fashion show last winter.

Elsien Gringhuis's collection belted down the runway with an equally eardrum-affecting momentum. And with two prestigious awards on her name, Best Avant Garde 2008 and the Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana award for most creative collection, Elsien doesn't have to joke around.

This winter collection is strict, structured, clean and modern with a monotonous colour scheme of blacks, greys and whites. Whereas the models had some shoe-struggles (and three were forced to kick their heels and stomp on their socks), there was no messing with the contemporary and architectural structures which were sent down the runway.
Through the progression of the show, the approachability of the designs increased. Although I still found it hard to imagine the touch business woman that would don a Gringhuis outfit, I was soon abet by Elsien herself; she received a warm and worthy applause wearing a dress from the collection, and proved the wearability of her designs looking sophisticated and effortless.
A strong woman, with a strong vision on contemporary design.


Fong Leng - book launch

Each decade there are only a handful of designers, whose influences are felt nationwide. In the 70's and early 80's Carla Maria Fong Leng Tsang was that designer in the Netherlands.

Her designs were sometimes unique artworks and other times, equally unique couture pieces, produced a mere three times. Although her prices could reach tens of thousands of guilders a pop, Fong Leng explains that several months work went into each piece, making them actually very reasonably priced.

Fong Leng: "Although I know that Dutch people easily find things to be too expensive"

Her feisty personality quickly became apparent during the launch of her monograph published by Jonge Honden, as she quickly corrected fashion lecturer (and Dutch fashion expert) José Teunissen and was met by ample giggles from the fashion-celebrity-filled crowd.

When questioned on her opinion of Dutch fashion today, Fong Leng encouraged young designers to work hard and follow their hearts, and said to be excited to see some of the shows.

With her opinion about the Dutch shopping streets on the other hand, she expressed a slither of dismay.

Fong Leng: "In my time, the PC Hooftstraat was much more exciting, there were small unique shops showcasing individuals' skills. The shops now make me lose my appetite, although you can get an excellent lunch on the PC."

Although she isn't visible in brick and mortar on Holland's most exclusive shopping street, her major influence on designers today is still apparent, with tributes and acknowledgement from designers with the likes of Francisco van Benthum and Viktor & Rolf.



The Present Past

Marloes Blaas isn't a stranger to fashion week, having presented a collection during Lichting 2007 and Fashion Institute Arnhem's show in summer 2009.

The small collection she presented today was nevertheless her independent debut.
Marloes: "Whereas the practical nature of the Dutch can often be frustrating for fashion designers, I embrace it in my work (..) I design clothing for women like myself, and I have a practical mindset too."
Marloes's signature is already shining through her collections, with fluid lines and feminine designs. In contrast to the soft and flattering materials she uses in her clothing, she shows sturdy leather accessories, derived from craftsmanship and originally practical professions.
The natural palette of her collections last season consisted of forest greens, burgundy and dots of fuchsia. This season was natural browns, beiges and a shot of cobalt blue to stirr things up. The trousers in her collection were gorgeous and embodied casual-french-chique in my opinion.
Sound good? Marloes retails through Soepboer & Stooker on Overtoom 9 in Amsterdam.


Highspeed Folklore

Last summer I fell in love with Linda Valkeman's diverse and varied collection with its many designs, which reflected her chaotic personality. Each look in that collection had a name that illustrated the different sides of chaos, 'I like to make a statement', 'I like to be baloonesk', 'I like to be a white swan', are examples of such.
Linda mentions finding structure in the beauty of chaos in her collections, and this season's designs were surprisingly cohesive in contrast to her previous work. Linda's palette was pale and fragile, with intricate detailing and an enormous array of used materials. As a 'traveller of the world' her nomadic lifestyle was a main influence for this collection.
Linda: "I am fascinated by the timelessness of the things I collect. As very different worlds collide in my designs, the search for the clash is crucial."
I found 'Highspeed Folklore' to be slightly less wearable than her graduation collection, which was presented last season at Fashion Institute Arnhem's show, but where it lacked in commerciality it made up for in amazing detail, with stunning handwork and amazing material-usage.



Wow, wow, wow, I don’t know where to start telling about MATTHIJS his collection. Let’s start with the beginning, his target was to blew new life into fourties couture (he took Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth as source of inspiration) and that did he do very well.
I love the way his clothes accentuate feminity. All the clothes were perfectly executed and I still get happy when I see all the ‘plissé’s’. The waist-line belt was an accessory that kept popping up. The colour palette was from red to seagreeen to black with golden accents. There were a flexible pencil skirt, a-symmetric cocktaildresses, short jackets with inside out seams and a an overcoat with feathers. I would like to have it all!

Painted A M U S E

A muse is a muse is a muse
A person to believe in
To treasure
To see the beauty of
To follow by skin
Muse yourself and be a muse to us

This text comes with the presentation of the ‘Painted’ collective led by Saskia van Drimmelen, Desirée Hammen and Margreet Sweerts. Their strength is to develop garments in which handwritings of various makers are united. They make use of crafts like needlepoint lace from Bulgaria and beadwork of the Assiniboine tribe from Northern America. Making clothes in a playfull way is what they are standing for. And that also worked great out with their presentation, with people with various ethnicities performing on a gymcord.