Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam Autumn/Winter 2014.
A look at the city’s hottest trends to come and how
the metropolis’ unique energy transforms clothing into fashion.
The place to be.
There are certain inevitable facts about Amsterdam that go well beyond common statistics of the city’s 165 canals, 1,281 bridges, 214 rainy days per year or the 12 flower markets. The truth is, Dutch people know good fashion, and Amsterdam is building its own unique approach in Europe’s fashion landscape. Young designers have begun catering to the local audience’s specific taste, and already established designers are going back to their roots, because, you know, at the end of it all, A’dam – as the locals call it – is the place to be, regardless of whether you’re looking for a good steak, a wild party or a brand new coat to replace your tired winter jacket.
Just relax, will you?
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam takes Dutch fashion a step further on its way to becoming globally recognized as one of the markets that not only develops fashion from its own culturally specific background, but also educates and creates new opportunities.
On the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam the relaxed backstage atmosphere is quite striking: llja Visser, a designer who showed her haute couture collection in Paris just days before her Ready to Fish by Ilja show in Amsterdam, is calmly sipping on coconut water minutes before the first models walk down the catwalk to the heavy beat of electronic music. “I have a great team that always makes everything happen in time, and a great story behind the collection,” the designer says, explaining her relaxed state of mind.
A great story indeed: Ready to Fish by Ilja, for the next cold season, is centered around a well thought-out combination of silky shirts, soft dresses and see-through techno accessories – an astonishingly contemporary collection for an international fashionista.
Sometimes you have to go a little wild.
It seems that designers presenting their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam are well aware of how to transform everyday clothing into sumptuous fashion. Francisco van Benthum, who has played a central role in placing Amsterdam on the map of quality men’s fashion, was initially interested in the idea of injecting the tradition of precise tailoring with fresh ideas, making it relevant for the pace of contemporary society. Or go with flowers and rock ‘n’ roll. Why, you might wonder? Well, because – as Balmain-trained Jan Boelo, one of Amsterdam’s darlings, puts it – “sometimes you have to go a little wild”, be it by going for a bright orange instead of grey, or a long voluminous leather skirt instead of your usual worn-out blue jeans.
Flowers in the snow.
Judging by the labels that have shown their collections in the packed Westerpark venue, what we’ll be wearing next winter has nothing to do with the usual fifty shades of black. Mattijs van Bergen, winner of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Dutch Fashion Award, has chosen a colour palette that can be traced back to Vincent van Gogh’s famous oil paintings, transposing them onto his silky feminine silhouettes using precise digital printing techniques. David Laport, whose debut on the catwalk was welcomed with much enthuse by the local as well as international press, has chosen bright yellow plaids, red woolen trousers and fresh flowers only to prove that if he hadn’t chosen to be a designer, he would have been a florist.
Embracing something new.
What makes Amsterdam a place unlike any other is its personal touch, blossoming with colour and identity. In the words of Mattijs, who opened this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam: “In the end, it is essentially about embracing something new.” An idea that can redefine the image of Dutch fashion or single-handedly answer your question the next time you are wondering what wardrobe to invest in.