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.

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion WeekAmsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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.

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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."

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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.

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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 necklaces.

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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 nu.nl 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 collection.

Photos: Peter Stigter and Simon Trel

Amsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion WeekAmsterdam celebrates Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week