Dorhout Mees

During the 19th edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week Esther Dorhout Mees presented her new collection, ‘La Belle Époque’.


‘La Belle Epoque’

‘Poetry is at least an elegance, and at most a revelation’  - Robert Fitzgerald

My inspiration for this collection is a poetry album, from the 1800′s, which I inherited from my great grandmother recently.

It is nothing like we know today.  It is full of sincere time, effort, love, poetry and handcrafted landscapes, drawings, silver, gold and broidery.

It struck something in me because of the contrast it formed with the time in which we live today.  We have no time for anybody, real contacts are rare and so is art.  Creativity is starting to become a rare commodity, and it’s not for everybody to enjoy any more.

I loved the idea of a long forgotten time, in which these trades were previous commodities held in high respect.

Also, when I read on, I found it so moving.  In a way, it had some sadness to it as well, because all of these people talking to each other about real friendships, love, life and death, are now not here anymore.  They are all almost forgotten and so is the bond they had together.

It just made me feel like I wanted to bring it to life again, and honour all these beautiful things entrusted to the pages of this little precious book.

I translated the individual cards from which this album is made, into pages to wear. This, combined with the sweetness and softness of what is on them, translated into rounded pleats contrasting the straight, rigid forms of the pages themselves.

I wanted to wrap the body in them, almost like an embrace from the pages.  I also wanted to use elements from this time period like antique mirror glass and corset patterns, but really frame them in this area, so there are also elements like these framed in the pages if you will.  Handmade shoes and accessories of antique mirror glass, in silver, soft blue and pinks .. the different colours of the collection.

The prints are inspired on the poetry and drawings of life, flowers and friendship.

Partial prints combine the time reference as they sort of disappear in pen strikes, and the crinkled old paper, in which shapes of a pattern can be found like a delicate lace pattern, hidden in the pages….

- Esther Dorhout Mees