A couple of days ago, Dutch designer Esther Dorhout Mees presented her ninth collection during Amsterdam Fashion Week. Titled ‘Stages’, the Fall Winter 2016 collection draws inspiration from deserted theaters. Decay, velvet, broken concrete, handmade shoes inspired by satin spears, contrasts in shape and material – the collection reflects a combination of extremes. Esther Dorhout Mees was fascinated by places in which red velvet curtains used to gave access to the most diverse shows from night to night, decorated with beautiful costumes and sets, but that have now become places of silence and oblivion. Theaters in which the applause is just a distant echo against the seasoned walls.
The ‘Stages’ collection is filled with elements of both the glory days and the era that followed. Costumes, corsets, and the shapes of the theater itself are the defining parts of the silhouette. The curtains fall asymmetrically of the side of the body and the round shapes of the endless rows of velvet chairs are reflected as well.
“The grandeur of a theater in which once beautiful plays were staged in costumes and grand decors, next to the decay and melancholy oblivion of these unique spaces. The combination of such extremes will fascinate me to the end,” explains Esther Dorhout Mees who founded the eponymous label in 2010 after graduating from ArtEz and working for labels such as Bruuns Bazaar and Tommy Hilfiger. Dorhout Mees sets herself apart with an elegant style, both feminine and conceptual, which she combines with making unconventional materials wearable. Her focal point is the fascination for the constant interplay between body and material, covering up and uncovering the female body. The essence of her collections are contrasts in structures, silhouette, and textures.