Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Avelon and Edwin Oudshoorn opened the
catwalk programme for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam, which took
place at de Westergasfabriek in the Dutch capital. Eric Frenken, the
designer behind Avelon, found inspiration for the
label’s five year anniversary collection in the ‘freedom of the urban nomad
and other outsiders who trek across the globe without a permanent
residence.’ This translated into coarsely knitted sweaters in a series of
earthy tones such as burgundy, deep brown, and faded grey, loose fitting
woolen trousers with intrasteric detailing and
oversized dresses and jackets with graphic prints. In between there were
more feminine silhouettes, with waists cinched in by a belt, combined with
peep of skin showing through a transparent cut out or blouse.

Next up was designer Edwin Oudshoorn, who presented his
couture collection ‘Return to Home,’ a creative interpretation of his own
personal experiences and the essence of survival. Influenced by the
war-torn forties, models were sent down the catwalk wearing
silk headscarves, pencil skirts with pleated detailing and woollen suits
which accented their silhouettes. The sober taupe and grey ensembles were
soon replaced by long evening gowns in a rainbow of vivid colors, red,
coral, and yellow. Flesh toned cut-outs were prominent among the
evening wear, but they were covered in delicate embroidery and floral
applications which seamlessly blending with the models skin, creating the
illusion of a second skin.

On Saturday, the recently graduated Lisa Konno presented
her first collection during MBFWA, named ‘For the Workers,’ designed to
raise awareness for sustainability within the industry and the toll
fast-fashion has on garment workers around the world. Using old garments
and discarded fabrics, the designer printed photos onto the materials which
depicted workers in apparel factories in Bangladesh and then reworked the
fabrics into new, distinct items. The end result was heavy knits paired
with high waisted shorts, flowing kimono styled blouses with knitted
shorts, and loose culottes combined with turtle-necked transparent blouses.

Another designer who took to the catwalk with a political statement in mind
was Moroccan-Dutch designer Aziz Bekkaoui. Returning to
Amsterdam fashion week for a second time, he unveiled his autumn/winter
collection, dubbed ‘United hearts now!’ Combining motifs which have been
imported to Europe from other continents, such as jacquard and houndstooth,
with modern cuts and geometric forms, the designer makes a stand in which
“glamour meets Bekkaoui activism.”

Maison de Faux decided to turn things inside out for
their catwalk show during MBFWA and displayed the collection between racks
of clothing and models swapping outfits before walking out into the
adjacent empty room. The Dutch fashion house, an initiative from Joris
Suk, Hans Hutting and Tessa de Boer, based their show on the theme of
transparency and authenticity in the industry and wanted the viewers to
question the nature of the show. Although the show’s design managed to
distract attention from the actual collection presentation, bold geometric
patterns on oversized blouses and trousers stood out, as well as bright
faux furs and sheer blouses.

Dutch twin sisters Truus and Riet, the designers behind Spijkers
& Spijkers
, turned to the world of insects for inspiration for
their autumn/winter ’15 collection SIS. Heavily influenced by Franz Kafka
‘Metamorphosis,’ and the story ‘Eric in the Land of Insects,’ the designer
duo translated this into their own imagery of graphic, electronic, vivid,
robotic colors. The beetle was a dominant part of the collection, spotted
as a motif on crepe blouses, blown up on a woollen sweater or worked into
t-shirts and slouchy jumpers. Elegant silk dresses with circle skirts
and contrasting belts graced the catwalk as well, paired with beetle-styled

Closing MBFWA was Claes Iversen ‘Scandinavian’ fairy
tale. Taking inspiration from his own roots, Russian folklore and the
“Russian Collection” by Yves Saint Laurent in 1976, the designer presented
‘II by Claes Iversen,’ his second ready-to-wear collection to grace the
catwalk. The show opened with high necked dresses crafted white embroidered
flowers, mixed with transparent organza, before transitioning to an array
of woolen skirts, patchwork knits and thick woven pattern tights in warm
fall colors such as mustard, rust tones and burgundy. The show closes
with a series of couture pieces, which featured elaborate patchwork,
stitching and piping. Iversen revealed in an interview with that his
“three sisters,” a short blue dress, a long red evening gown and a white
wedding dress, took hundreds of hours to craft and were the “family” of the

Photos: Peter Stigter and Simon Trel

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