I had the pleasure of spending the past week in Amsterdam where I attended the 22nd edition of the Mercedes-Benz Amsterdam Fashion Week. The more frequently I visit Amsterdam the more I fall in love with its unique charms. Amsterdam is a city that has a seemingly endless supply of positive energy. Whether walking around the old city centre, talking with locals or attending a fashion show, you can maintain a positive vibe. That vibe translates to how their installment of fashion week is facilitated. I have attended fashion weeks all around the world and Amsterdam is on par with the best of them. They produce a top notch event, that is professional both on and off the runway. I think that is a testament to the spirit of the city and its citizens to forge their own identity and imbue their event with their own open Dutch attitude. Amsterdam Fashion Week was a parade of style, creativity and talent and it was a pleasure to attend. Now to the important stuff. Let’s hit the Runway..
The Dutch brand Avelon used Fashion Week to not only premiere their new collection but to also celebrate their 5th year anniversary. The main inspiration for their collection is a representation of a nomadic life, which is interpreted through use of oversize blankets, chunky knits, graphic prints, slouchy coats and ethnic wraps paired with highly tailored materials such as leather, fur, floral brocade and wool. Most pieces had neutral hues but they managed to include some burgundy and navy. Avelon wins with a formula that combines versatility, comfort and luxury in an accessible package.
‘United Hearts Now’ is the thought-provoking collection introduced by designer Aziz Bekkaoui. The collection is an ambitious attempt to go beyond fashion and make a positive political statement. A printed pattern that is reminiscent of the keffiyeh becomes the staple motif of the collection that adorns jackets, tops, blouses, dresses, socks, gloves and backpacks. Love is another predominant theme translated into clothes with prints, embroideries and heart shaped necklaces (these last ones designed in collaboration with Caterina Occhio’s collection SeeMe). Wool, cashmere and silk are the prevailing textiles. The range of colours vary from bright green, cobalt, red, pink, grey and black. Despite a strong political message the collection managed to give off a peppy vibe.
Bas Kosters entertained the fashion crowd with his over the top catwalk show ‘Permanent State of Confusion’ which revealed a collection consisting of performance costumes, embellished dolls and unconventional fashion accessories such as customized strollers and trolleys. Bold colours, a mix of prints, embroidery, patchwork and impertinent slogans are all trademarks of the designer. Each piece comes to life by re-using materials from previous collections, old artwork and even Bas’ own wardrobe. The collection becomes a method to express the designer’s feelings towards an industry that is guilty of overproduction and overconsumption. Amidst the protest there were elements of spirituality. Bas sat on a high block in Lotus position on the stage surrounded by incense. The Hare Krishna mantra and the Hindu goddess inspired makeup added to the fashion meets eastern religion theme.
The AW15 Tony Cohen collection is sexy, elegant and daring. The show opened up with top model Kim Feenstra and it was clear we were off to a good start. Cut-outs on the shoulders, elbows and hips but also dizzying lateral splits and plunging necklines are key details that highlight the sensuality and femininity of his muses. Lace, silk, leather and mesh fabrics accentuate the bold and revealing nature of the designs. Cohen was spot on with the choice of accessories like half palm leather gloves, beanie-caps and leather socks incorporated in high-heeled sandals that will definitely keep us cool and warm over next season’s winter.
Claes Iversen AW15 collection is inspired by Icelandic sagas, Norwegian mythology and fairy tales. Combining some Russian influences from Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Russian Collection’, and the result is a warm collection full of opulent materials and details that allude to those northern influences. The patchwork of a wild fox on a bonded sweatshirt highlights the importance of patchwork in Iversen’s designs. Norse mythology is represented with sheer organza embellished with flowers referencing elves and the use of mohair and boucle’ yarns hearkening to wild beasts. Among the standout pieces, the skirts and jackets of ‘fur’ which are made of satin ribbons and woolen thread.
Barbara Langendijk collection ‘Riches From Rags’ is inspired by aspects of Japanese culture. During her trip in Japan, Langendijk immersed herself in Japanese traditional crafts, materials and techniques. She then began to develop innovative ways of fabric construction by using pattern pieces without separation thus avoiding wasted material. In the collection, the designs are minimal and clean. Deep necklines and the use of sheer fabric and knits were dominant themes. I am looking forward to see what is next for this talented designer.
A special thank you to The Municipality of Amsterdam (I Amsterdam), FashionWeek Nederland and partners Mercedes Benz, Art’Otel Amsterdam and the Modefabriek for making my coverage and trip to Amsterdam possible.