LPA: Your AW12 show was definitely one of my fashion week favourites. What was the inspiration behind the collection?
Michael: It’s a mix of various references all re-fabricated in my own fabrics and embellishments. Some of the references include Veronica Lake, Ziegfield Folliesand other showgirl costumes, vintage dresses and gowns, everyday sportswear, casual wear, hand knits from the 1930′s… But I would re-interpret these references in modern prints, textiles and embroidery and knits. It’s a complete wardrobe from t-shirts to evening gowns and everything in between.
LPA: Your work has always been praised highly by the fashion press but it was only this season that you landed the most coveted stockist around, Net-a-Porter. Do you feel that you commercialized your style for SS12 and AW12?
Michael: I wouldn’t say so, no. It has the same integrity it had before but the difference is that the collections have grown in size and this has triggered a lot of new accounts with new stockists which is exciting.
LPA: You and your fellow Central St Martins/NewGen alumni are often grouped together as the exciting, younger generation of London designers taking the fashion world by storm. Does this create a sense of competition or comradeship between you? Having showed together for a good 6 seasons now, you must know each another pretty well.
Michael: Definitely, we all sell together in the same showroom in Paris so everybody knows each other’sbusiness! Luckily we all get on though. I don’t really feel competitive with them because our styles are all so different.
LPA: Being a fashion designer seems to be one of the most demanding and time consuming callings a person could have. How long does it take to get a collection from sketchbook to catwalk? Are you having a well-deserved break now or are you alreadyworking on SS13?
Michael: It depends, some pieces develop very quickly others take ages and ages to get right. But I start a new collection before the previous one gets shown at fashion week. Design research and fabric research I do very early on.
LPA: What has been your proudest moment in fashion so far?
Michael: I was really proud when I was nominated for a British Fashion Award, as it’s so official. Also meeting Bjork and working for her was fantastic. Mainly I just love owning and running my own business.
LPA: Who, dead or alive, would you most like to see wearing your clothes?
Michael: I don’t really think about that although I was very happy that Gwendoline Christie wore a piece recently, she is amazing.
LPA: What advice would you give to someone trying to establish a career in the fashion industry?
Michael: Do your research.
LPA: What is your ultimate aim for the Michael van der Ham brand?
Michael: To just keep growing and expanding.
Love Ella. X