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Practical without being prosaic

Are we growing up or is fashion becoming more sensible? Michael Barnaart van Bergen's new collection L’Hiver Brûlant delivers sensible, flattering and elegant pieces in bold colours (gasp) without a hint of the other 'b' word - boring that is.

By Editor / 05-02-2009

Fashion has never been practical and in shaky times such as this, a certain seriousness starts to take over our approach to style.

Michael Barnaart van Bergen’s first prêt-a-porter collection is a perfect sign of the times - quality over quantity and practicality without being prosaic. Barnaart van Bergen certainly strikes a chord with the modern woman, by delivering a sensible and timeless collection. Most notable are his perfectly tailored satin shirt dresses in somber hues with nothing but twist of a leather belt gathered above the waist line. Skirts were ballooned at the hip to mimic a peplum curve and were balanced by simple yet stunning white shirts. Looking effortless but masterfully constructed were draped goddess dresses in exploding block colours – Chartreuse, Magenta, Electric Blue – sure to become his signature piece.
There were some alternative notions of elegance, which Barnaart van Bergen translates with success, for instance, the bum skimming dresses moved up a notch in sophistication by availing the use long sleeves and high collars. Also, his use of fabrics, ranging from robust to weightless, the shift dresses and the models that wore them appeared as if they would take flight. More grounded were his floral prints which were an oversized prune from a spring garden in unexpected contrasts, making a strong seasonal statement.
It’s warming to see a man as young as Barnaart van Bergen (1983) value understated elegance and it’s inspiring to see him deliver it with such exactness. If effortless elegance is what you’re after, Michael Barnaart van Bergen’s collection has no shortage of winning numbers.

Guest reporter: Savi Kuruppu
Photography: Jeroen Snijder

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