Out with the Old; In with the New

by yeapxelinn

So my assignment this week is to research and write about well-known designers: an old-timer (John Galliano) and a newcomer (Michael van der Ham) in the “notorious” fashion industry.


John Galliano basically disappeared from the face of earth when the “I love Hitler.. People like you would be dead today.” scandal. However, recently appeared along side Oscar de la Renta for a collaboration. The Galliano flair can be seen across Oscar de la Renta’s Spring Summer 2013 collection.


Graduated from Central Saint Martin in 1988 with a first class honours degree in Fashion Design escalated Galliano’s career becoming the head designer of French fashion companies Givenchy (July 1995 to October 1996), Christian Dior (October 1996 to March 2011), and his own label John Galliano. I would describe his style as combinations theatrical drama and haute couture; gothic yet elegant.

By the time my foundation Final Major Project assignment started, I was asked during an interview for Westminter University, who I think should replace Galliano’s position in Christian Dior. Without a second thought, I said he was pretty much irreplaceable, but I am more of a fan of the John Galliano label than Dior. Little did I know, he was eventually replaced in his own label. Cathy Horyn, fashion critic of The Times, reported that the company have been discussing the designer and his possible return:

“One individual said there had been casual discussions among LVMH executives about the feasibility of Mr. Galliano returning to his own label. Would the media and the public accept his return? This individual said he thought so. Another executive with whom I spoke had the same view. He cited the appeal of Mr. Galliano’s ultrafeminine fashion and added that in recent years the designer had lost touch with that sensibility (and indeed reality). ‘It became a kind of Lady Gaga show, and he’s more talented than this,’ the executive said.”

The scandal was an unfortunate event for a lot of people, and had the greatest impact on John Galliano himself. My very first and deep impression of Galliano’s work was his Spring Summer Ready-to-wear 2006 collection (images below) . He celebrates diversity of all kinds of people. I believe an artist is as honest as his/her work and even any sane person wouldn’t have said those awful things if one isn’t deeply provoked and offended in the first place. In addition to that, he was highly intoxicated when the incident took place. If a normal, non-public person would have said those things, they wouldn’t have got into that much trouble like America’s most hated family for example.



Nonetheless, it is undeniable that Galliano did have a drinking and possibly a drug problem. Then again, stardom had destroyed so many others. So, I am glad he is taking actions to get better and am looking forward to see more of Galliano in the future.

(hopefully temporarily) Out with the old;


Michael van der Ham, a Dutch womenswear designer graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009. He studied illustration and drawing in a small independent fashion school in Dutch before deciding to follow his true passion in fashion. He then came to London at the age of 21 to work with Sophia Kokosalaki and Alexander McQueen. In an interview, van der Ham stated that he had an interview with Louise Wilson for MA at Saint Martins the day before he started at Sophia Kokosalaki, and started the course six months later.

Michael Van der Ham_Grazia

According to Michael van der Ham, “I like to mismatch different references in each item of clothing. My autumn/winter 2009 collection is a juxtaposition of elements from different decades in fashion. I made each dress like a 3D collage of clashing colours, textures, weights of fabric and cut.” (images below)

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Van der Ham mismatches not only different types of fabric, but also different types and cuts of garments, creating some kind of high fashion Frankenstein. In an interview on hintmag.com, the interviewer said “I think that the initial reaction to your collection was, What the…? But then we totally got it.” Apparently, that was also his and Louise Wilson’s reaction when it comes to his design. According to van der Ham, Louise thought his designs did not make sense but when it is put on a model, the idea became clear.

Initially, I thought the idea of “getting it” was rather pretentious. However, I took the time to closely examine each garment in all collections, there is something charming about his designs that I cannot put my mind to explain. Perhaps it is the idea of contrasting textures (which I personally am obsess with), or the cohesiveness that was created out of the chaos of different shapes, prints, materials and colours.

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.” – Claude Monet


{Spring/Summer 2011}


{Spring/ Summer 2013}

In comparison to his earlier collections, SS 13 is more wearable than SS 11, is this some kind of growth or a business decision? Then again, even Salvador Dali needs income to survive. I think out of all collections, SS 11 is, in my opinion, the best he has done yet. Although I do not think all average sized woman can pull off van der Ham’s creations. For example the womenswear designs for the opening of 2012 London Olympics.


I understand the dancers need to be mobile and comfortable, but all the stripes and sequins only amplified the curves on these woman, but not in a flattering way. However, I assume he must have done the best he can to incorporate his ideas and style with the budget given.

I hope perhaps van der Ham’s next collection might look a little more “Michael van der Ham back in 2011”, if you know what I mean.


In with the new.