Ronald van der Kemp celebrated his return to the Paris runway, sculpting his upcycled creations for the occasion with his usual panache.
“Couture is about realness, it’s not about metaphors, we create our own reality,” said the Dutch designer backstage before the show. “We worked with everything that we had around us, not only fabrics, but the memories I have, everything sentimental for the old days, for real couture.”
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The vibrant, eclectic collection took in a frenzy of fabrics and treatments, from lace cutouts from vintage bridal gowns like 3D mandala appliqués on a gown in black and white to a denim skirt with a dramatic pumpkin-shaped hem via patchworks incorporating scraps of python and leather, or vintage silk scarves.
“Every look stands on its own, it’s about eccentricity, if people know who they are, it makes it more responsible and sustainable, because you build the wardrobe around your personality. Also I think in this time of diversity, it’s very important to show who you are, so we really gave every girl their own personality,” he said.
Despite the heterogeneity of his raw materials and his style register, there was no hiding van der Kemp’s love of a sculpted shoulder or a power suit. One look featured a dramatic shoulder line worked in a series of peaks, like the outline of a star.
On the subject of sculpture, the final look was one unto itself, a series of rectangles clad in a patchwork of brocades that formed a cubic bodice and matching headdress.
There were touches of old-world glamor, in a white peplum jacket, its sleeves turned up and attached to the shoulders, accentuating the volume. The nostalgia also translated into the repurposing of a layered dress in peach and green silk organza once sported by Naomi Campbell.
A common thread from his last presentation, which was online only and featured Pat Cleveland’s breakout singing performance, his Paris show also featured a live act, this time from Los Angeles-based performance artist Vôx, her mystical vocals echoing through the garden of the Dutch ambassador’s Paris residence.
Launch Gallery: RDVK Ronald van der Kemp Couture Fall 2022