One of the designers who will show his collection at Casablanca Fashion Week is Said Mahrouf (40). He is the one who invited Team Peter Stigter to Casablanca. That’s no coincidence, since Mahrouf lived for more than 30 years in the Netherlands – he came to our country with his parents when he was 9 – and studied Fashion Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. This year in January he presented his collection for the first time at Amsterdam Fashion Week.
Mahrouf is fascinated by the interaction between human movements and space. He gradually focused his work on designing costumes for site-specific performances. His work has been displayed at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, both in New York, the Utrecht Central Museum, the Amsterdam Municipal Museum, Carriage Works Gallery in Sydney and in Casablanca’s Loft Gallery. In 2011 he was appointed artistic director of the 15th edition of Morocco’s main traditional fashion event, Caftan, which was broadcast live from Marrakech. Said Mahrouf presents a ready-to-wear collection at Festimode-Casablanca Fashion Week annually.
His fashion-collections are an ode to femininity and elegance. The soft, sensual lines of his designs truly come to life on a female body. And his clientele in Casablanca loves it. After years of living in Amsterdam and traveling the world, Said Mahrouf returned to Casablanca in 2010 definitely. In his atelier he designs and sells ready to wear de luxe. And it made him a celebrity in Morocco. Moroccan fashion is often traditional in spirit, what Mahrouf designs is considered avant-garde. And elite wants that.
Team Peter Stigter visited the designer in his atelier in Casablanca for a preview of his new collection, which is inspired by the colors of Marrakech.
After his Moroccan inspired collection last season, Sjaak Hullekes will present a Japan oriented collection of menswear this time. “I was inspired by Japan from before and after the industrialization. People in Japan really focus on tradition. Sepia pictures of traditionally dressed people in front of a flat were the starting point. Besides the Japanese style is just very beautiful. I love the folklore aspect of their way of dressing”, Sjaak says.
The Japanese influences will be visible through the details of the clothes. “Menswear is always very much about details and with this collection it’s no different. You’ll recognize the Japanese style through the standing colors, certain fabrics, dessins and the Eastern overlap we used.”
The Japan theme reaches even further. “The music, the colors and the title of the collection are Japan inspired as well. We’ve used faded colors, which we’ve seen in the sepia pictures, like beige, faded green, navy and brown/orange shades. The title of the collection is Min‘yō, which is traditional Japanese music. It represent the idea of continuing something and passing it on, which really appealed to me.”
Throughout the new spring/summer collection, which will feature around thirty looks, the deconstructed signature of Sjaak Hullekes will be visible. “With most of my designs you can really see how they are created. I always look for fabrics and colors that give a design a certain strength. Plus, something has to feel really comfortable, like some of my jackets which are not lined.”
“The casual part of the collection is bigger this time than before. This because I personally really wanted to extend it. I want to wear more casual pieces myself. Therefore you’ll see more short jackets and safari jackets. One of the deconstructed jackets is my absolute favorite; it’s insane! It has a terracotta shade and we’ve used a contrasting fabric for both the color and the pockets. I think and hope it is going to do well.”
Head to toe
Sjaak recently launched his own perfume and will launch a collection of underwear (this collection will not be shown during Amsterdam Fashion Week) very soon; all part of the bigger plan. “I really feel the need to be able to dress a man from head to toe. I want to be a complete fashion house. The underwear, which is a very basic brief in both white and navy, arrives next week and will be sold quickly after that.”
“We’ve also just introduced our made to measure service, we are looking for our own store in Amsterdam and we’re working on a business-to-business level with companies like Microsoft, which is so much fun.”
Sjaak Hullekes will present his new menswear collection on Saturday 14 July at 06.00 PM
It will be Jan Boelo’s first time to show during Amsterdam Fashion Week and from what he tells us, it will be a show to remember.
With just a few days left until his show Jan Boelo and his team are working late every day. “I’m finishing the collection with three other people and I’m getting some help from friends and family. It’s usually not until 2 or 3 a.m. that we stop working and go to bed. But I’m making sure I have one more relaxed day before the show, so I wouldn’t be all tired and stressed out on Sunday.”
Jan’s collection (it’s the second collection he has made) will exist of men- and womenswear. “The biggest part will be womenswear, but there’s a small menswear section as well. All together we will present about 26 looks.”
“Those looks are inspired by the late seventies. It’s all about the rise & fall of punk and glam rock. There will be a lot of leather and chains. Almost anything in the collection will be shiny. The fit will be tight, but there are loose pants too and I stressed some of the shoulders. It will feel like Alexis herself (from Dynasty) walks into the room.”
“We got a special kind of denim from Italy and we had our leather custom made in an Italian factory. I personally went there this spring to make a selection of the leather I wanted to use.”
Rock ’n Roll
“Since I’m a big Rock ’n Roll fan; I translated this to the collection. Songs from bands like The Sex Pistols and Patti Smith inspired me. The soundtrack of the show is going to be very rock ’n roll too. It will be a pretty fierce mix, made by Tim Holland.”
Jan has already convinced Dutch rock singer/actress Ellen ten Damme of his talent (she wore his clothes to several official events) so we’re very curious to see what everyone else thinks of his designs.
Jan Boelo will show his collection on Sunday 17 July at 3 p.m.
While traveling from London to Rome and Amsterdam she kept multiple To do lists in the past weeks just to make sure all preparations for her show would be done in time. So with just a few days until that show everything seems to fall in place just right. And Pauline van Dongen’s first Amsterdam Fashion Week fashion show is most likely to become a success.
The collection Pauline will be showing is called Kinetic Landscapes and tells the story of subtle changes in nature made by the power of water and air, which can only be noticed after many decades. Like the remarkable traces of waves and sand on rocks and stones.
“Through this inspiration the collection shows my sculptural signature and experimental approach of shape and materials. I used lines and waves to create movement in my designs as well. I find it fascinating that wind and air can create soft and fluent shapes on such large and solid parts of nature.”
“I was inspired by the natural phenomena ‘The Wave’ in Arizona and thus opted for shades of that specific place like orange, cobalt blue, white, grey and black. A reflecting kind of knitwear and a springy sort of pleated knitwear represent the fluent and reflecting aspect of water in my creations.”
But better than to speak about Pauline’s designs we should watch them. Preferable on the runway while they’re being worn by models. ‘Cause, Pauline says, “I love to see my work on a moving body in stead of on a static object. The woman body gives my designs their outspoken shape and volume.”
Pauline van Dongen will show her collection on 14 July at 8 p.m.
This upcoming edition of the Amsterdam International Fashion Week the twins sisters Riet en Truus Spijkers will be the first to show their SIS collection. We spoke to the sisters about this new collection and what kind of story they will be telling during the opening event.
“We’re very excited to be part of the opening show this season. For us that’s even better than just doing a regular fashion show. It results in a lot of media attention, which is one of the reasons we decided to show during Amsterdam Fashion Week. More media coverage results in more requests for our collection and that’s always good.”
It’s only one year ago that Spijkers en Spijkers launched it’s little sister SIS, yet so far the new line is doing great. “We are getting applications for the collections from abroad as well. SIS is now being sold in countries like Italy, Japan and Australia.”
As for the new summer collection we can expect nothing but summery/sunny clothing. “The collection is sunny, optimistic and a little naughty. The theme is Bain du Soleil. Again it will have some twenties references, which we also used in our music. The soundtrack will be modern but with a definite twenties twist.”
Like in every collection the sisters chose a certain woman as their female muse for the collection. “This time Olympic swimmer Zus Braun gave the designers their inspiration. Due to that the collection has some slightly sporty details in it, but mostly done in a very feminine way.”
“The clothes will have a tight fit and come in colors like rose, pistachio, amber and nautical blue. There are some bright Au Bain de Soleil prints as well. We used cotton, crêpe de chine and some very comfy jerseys. It’s just a fun collection, so we’re very much looking forward to the show.”
SIS by Spijkers en Spijkers will be shown on Wednesday evening 13 July at 6.30 p.m.
The Sage & Ivy fashion show is part of the official Amsterdam International Fashion Week program for the first time this season. Yet, as designer Alexia van Engelen tells us, the label is still giving the audience something different…
“When we were approached by the AIFW if we wanted to join the official schedule, we had one condition: we still wanted to be able to create our own little Sage & Ivy world around the show. We didn’t want to use just an ordinary, plain, white catwalk. We discussed all possibilities and are now showing the new Sage & Ivy collection near the pond of the Westergasterrein. This means the models are going to be walking on a catwalk build over water. We’re very excited”
And though the concept alone is already interesting, water has a special meaning in Alexia’s new collection too. “The collection is called hemisphere and is inspired by water. Yet not in an too obvious matter. You’ll see the water in reflections, the golden color it creates when the sun sets, the many colors that appear when the sun shines at it and the transparency of water.”
These diverse sides of water are brought to live in a two sided collection. “On one side it shows Greek influences like draping, braiding and lots of volume. On the other side you’ll see day wear with a seventies vibe (high pants and accentuated shoulders). Bianca Jagger really was the inspiration for this since she used to mix those two styles together in her impeccable looks.”
The whole Sage & Ivy collection consists of 24 looks, all handcrafted in small studios in Belgium and Germany (no longer in Morocco, like before). The fabrics as well as the colors of the collection breath femininity. “We used shades like light pink, light green, grey, gold and some degrade. All looks were made from materials like jersey, lace, chiffon, organza, satin, cotton and a special wool melange. There are many feminine pieces in the collection but in the show we will always combine a very feminine, elaborating item with a more simple and cool (almost manly) piece. Just wait and see…”
The Sage & Ivy show will be held on Friday 15 July at 8 p.m.
With his new collection of menswear (Quoc Thang has been making menswear for the past 1,5 years) Quoc Thang is about to head into a whole new direction. It will be his third time presenting his collection during Amsterdam International Fashion Week and he couldn’t be more excited.
“Presenting my work during fashion week is a great way to reach a big audience. Perhaps it doesn’t directly result in making a lot of money, but artistically it’s the right thing to do.”
Thang’s new collection tells the story of an adventurer defying cold area’s in search of security and safety. “It’s called A Place Over There (Een Plek Daarginds in Dutch) and – like all my collections so far – it has something to do with the vulnerability and transitory of life. My inspiration comes from conversations, exhibitions and every day things. I always write things down.”
Shades & fabrics
“The new collection is pretty silent when it comes to color. We used multiple blues and greys and a touch of green here and there. The designs are made of fabrics like high tech nylon and wool. We also used a waxed cotton, which we’re very proud of since it’s hard to get.”
“Everything will be completely different; our strategy, our philosophy and the way we built up the collection. We used the 3 x 3 x 3 concept, based on the idea of a pair of pants, a top and a jacket.” It might sound somewhat vague right now, but according to Thang everyone will immediately be able to see the changes he made during the show.
Thang’s motivation to head into this new direction seems reasonable: “We noticed the big audience wasn’t really getting our collections when we showed them. We – and I think fashion in general – are ready for something new.”
And with just a few days ahead before the show Quoc Thang couldn’t be more prepared. “Our collection is completely ready, so we’re not worrying about time. I’ve done this a few times now so I now the ropes.”
Quoc Thang will present his collection on Saturday 16 July at 6 p.m.