With the presentation of her fall-winter 2012 collection during Paris couture-week Iris van Herpen proved that couture is really a platform for creativity. She keeps testing the limits with her creations, and no one on day one of the three-day-long couture calendar came anywhere near to pushing the envelope as far as Iris van Herpen.
What to think of a halter-dress made from what appeared to be a distended skeleton? Or the shiny black tubes that enveloped another mini-dress? Van Herpen presented old and new work, but it all morphs easily into one collection, the difference lies into the techniques, use of fabrics and themes. But what stays is her impressive dark techno style that’s original, exciting and fresh.
Dutch designer Jan Taminiau seemed to be the first designer to kick off Haute Couture week in Paris, unofficially that is. While everybody was awaiting the Dior couture-show (is there already a new designer?), Jan prepared his collection quietly. Nature Extends is the name of the collection, that was an unusual mix of cork and rich, flowing materials like chiffon. The fabrics and materials were sculpted into long, dramatic high collared dresses and tight suits. Colors changed from silver sequins into gray, taupe, brown/yellow.
It doesn’t happen that often that a young fashiondesigner – notably from the Netherlands – gets a spot at the official calendar of the Paris Fashion Week and is able to give her first show in the middle of that week. Steffie Christiaens came out of the blue and presented her first collection on sunday.
Her concept is clear and explained at her website:
One windy day whilst filming a cherry tree covered with netting, Steffie Christiaens discovered the elemental inspiration that would form the unique beginnings of her experiential design process.
Steffie captures the effect of wind, water, heat and light upon archetypal garments and fabrics, harnessing the distorting chemical and physical forces of nature. Through her photographs and 3-D studies, she transfigures these ‘natural accidents’ into liberated, provocative designs.
Christiaens’ organic shapes flow over the body like waves,intuitive of the human form beneath. Maintaining an artisanal approach to more experimental garments, the collection delivers a balance between a structure rooted in Futurist spatial forms and a fluidity of relaxed elegance.
After graduating at the Artez Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem Steffie Christiaens went to Balenciaga and Maison Martin Margiela and was chosen as a finalist for the festival Hyeres. A promising designer. Let’s hope she will be able to maintain and succeed. Her debut-collection was the first, big step.
At the Salon in New York Dutch designer Tony Cohen showed he’s a true artist when it comes to making women look beautiful. He also proved he belongs at the New York Fashion Week as one of the few foreign fashion labels.
The models he sent out on the runway all looked very sophisticated and mysterious at the same time. Their hair and make-up and the dark shades (black, grey and Burdury red) they wore created that look. The use of luxurious silk, cashmere and wool added to that feeling.
Cohen’s well-known signature aspects – draping and asymmetry – again were the highlight of the collection. Yet Tony Cohen also introduced a third success item: hand crafted embroideries. He designed embroidered gloves, belts, shoulders and tops decorated with sequins. They made the models look even more elegant and will probably be the aspect of this show we remember the best.
A look from this collection we won’t soon forget either was a short black dress with extremely wide transparent draped sleeves. It really stood out and looked astonishing beautiful. Plus: many women would be able to wear it. And this brings us to the success aspect of the collection: every piece of it was wearable. And since many brands are experimenting with crazy shapes and fabrics we were happy to see some well-made, wearable fashion.
During the Swedish Evening at the Amsterdam Fashion Week Swedish fashion designer Camilla Norrback showed her new collection. Male and female models both walked the runway.
The womenswear looked feminine, classic and very wearable. We saw pinafore dresses with cute collars that appeared to be inspired by Veruca from Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
Other eye-catching details were puffy sleeves and accentuated shoulders. The designs had floral prints, stripes and bows. And the girls all walked on boots with wedge heels.
The male models wore long cardigans and their high waisted pants had rolled up legs.
The total collection was inspired by the thirties. The colors in Camilla’s fall/winter collection were navy blue, orange, beige and brown.
Camilla Norrback started her fashion label in 2002. Her clothes are called eco-luxe, while Camilla uses ecological and natural materials. Camilla Norrback is available in Amstedam and Antwerp. The English fashion label Topshop recently named Camilla Norrback one of the twelve emerging names in fashion.