I find the background on all this more interesting than anything I can draft for an Intro. One tidbid, gleaned from WWD, is that in April in Amsterdam, van der Kemp “had 29 models, each in a couture dress with matching face mask, emerge on the safely spaced balconies of a deserted luxury hotel in central Amsterdam,” and is auctioning the masks to raise money for the Refugee Company, which is opening a facility in the Netherlands where refugees will e employed producing surgical masks.
Second, per Vogue, is about this array:
In the Before, van der Kemp would’ve been in Paris this week presenting a new couture outing. Instead, he’s developed a follow-up, reusing pieces from previous seasons to create 28 new gender-fluid looks. The term he uses is wardrobe, rather than collection, because it conveys a sense of lasting timelessness, whereas the other promotes overproduction and, in turn, overconsumption.
This is a fine balance for a dressmaker to negotiate. There are employees to pay, rent, supply costs. He has to sell dresses. But van der Kemp is a true believer. He thinks fashion can operate differently: “I want to reinvent the notion of a couture house. When you’re smaller, you can move with the times and react. It would be a blessing for the whole world if these mega fashion companies became smaller companies.” Also, he thinks society wants something new: “The unrest is so big—people really want change. We’re taking this moment to change.”
WWD poked at this collection being messier than usual, before allowing, “so is the world,” but it seems like a weird swipe to take. I love the idea of making something new out of old garments that might otherwise just molder in a storage facility or get tossed, or whatever anyone does with couture that’s past its season. That it was an attempt made during what can charitably be described as suboptimal circumstances makes me like it more.