P.S. This pic from the EnD show says it all. Amsterdam is one stylish city. Find information on this fledgling Dutch label below, under Mexx. (Just look for the face paint.)
Before we get back to Berlin (and what a weekend it was in local fashion) we’re taking one last look – through Coke-bottle glasses – at Amsterdam International Fashion Week. Now we know what you’re thinking about that boilersuit and the what-in-heaven’s-name-do-you-call-that-colour?, but Lew’s ss10 show was an exciting moment for its two designers, who announced through a clever narrative that the label has come of age. In Lady Lew & Blue Boy, their trademark academia gave way to pragmatism with wearable shapes and (for some skin tones) colours, inspired by their design digs in a former gay bar. Delicate dresses in powder box peach summoned a gentleness confined to fond memory, and the fleshy power blazer showed their humour is here to stay. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Lew show inspired a revival of the tong curl and four eyes specs, either.
Anyone who’s read Galileo will know the perils of appropriating space without science. But with the internet challenging notions we signed off on centuries ago, theorists are returning to their charts. Quick question, do you reckon the earth’s still round? At least that’s the shape that emerged when young Dutch design duo malousebastiaan embarked on a search for a place without borders. For SS10, Malou Verharen & Ferdinand S Hartgers have channelled their imaginings of ‘the atmosphere’ into an intriguing collection of disfigured orbs fashioned from blown-up boiled sheep, goat & deer leather. Fixed to faces and frocks, the organic matter lends a gust of power to the Globurar (‘globular’) collection’s floaty fabrics. After all, power is knowledge. Or something like that.
Designer Daryl Van Wouw is one of few people to benefit from 80s fashion’s refusal to die (the CEO of Top Shop’s another). Van Wouw’s SS10 collection, Hypercube, is yet another product of the energetic designer’s fascination with shapes and colour. Between shows that convinced us we were pattern-blind, the visual-arts-class aesthetic was refreshing, if not reassuring. Oh, I remember. Fashion is fun! While this doubly bubbly toil and trubbly cube dress (pictured right) channels a prom queen on acid, a cropped leather jacket with suede lapel insets only whispers its connection to the era of conspicuous consumption. Except when paired with lime-coloured vintage 501s. And a liquorice allsort crop top. Which, by the way, spins us right round (baby round round).
At first we pretended we knew this label, because we assumed from the pictures that we ought to. Oh, Gringhuis… thought you said greenhouse, we’re so silly! Minimalism requires a certain cognitive cleanliness that young designers just don’t have. Au contraire – Dutch designer Elsien Gringhuis has been out of Arnhem Academy for less than 12 months (although she did cut her teeth at G-Star,where she still toils). We’re in awe of Gringhuis’ colourless ss10 collection and her courage to discard what sense would say one shouldn’t. As pared to perfection as the orange raincoat that won her last year’s Create Europe Avantgarde Award. Bet you already knew about that.
Mexx by EnD
…a last-minute photo shoot and then our luggage… skip it? Okay. We’re actually devastated we missed one of the most exciting-sounding shows of Amsterdam’s big week. Usually we’d rather have our eyebrows shaved than see a ‘collaboration’ between a brand trying to up its cachet, and a vulnerable young label oblivious to the perils. But Mexx by EnD is different. Rather than storming in with tree print leggings (believe it – see EnD post above), or something as wildly foreign to the core customer (Josh Goot for Target, anyone?) , fledgling Dutch creatives Eva van Overbeeke and Delia Drel, of label EnD, remixed 10 seasonal looks for mass appealer Mexx. They’ve managed to impart a childlike naivete to the decidedly commercial brand – without alienating Mexx loyalists. Truth be told we’re astounded it came off so uncontrived. We’d wear the jodhpur ensemble in a heartbeat (although we might save the face paint for special occasions.)all AIFW pictures: Peter Stigter