Birds Flock Behind Maarten van der Horst

Published April 17, 2012

Following in the footsteps of Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou, recent Central Saint Martins graduate Maarten van der Horst will unveil his collaboration with British super-retailer Topshop this Friday, Apr. 20. The prodigious Dutch talent, only a year out of school, has garnered significant admiration in fashion circles as of late thanks to his campy, party girl, surf-and-sun aesthetic.

Some have even credited van der Horst with sparking the Hawaiiana dominating the runways of the past two seasons. “It started with literal rip-offs by some big houses, which all of a sudden discovered the ‘birds-of-paradise’ print after my graduation show,” says van der Horst, “But yeah… it’s great! Fashion is all about escapism and there’s nothing which translates that desire as much as tropical prints.”

The Topshop partnership, which will be unisex (“like most of my stuff always is,” he says), promises orchids and palm trees aplenty. Expect high-quality linens in “flattering” and “boxy” cuts, with fresh design details including “covered snappy buttons” and “jet-pockets.” It is an ultra-modern aesthetic anchored in post-war optimism—perfect for adventurous dressing from Honolulu to Hester Street. “It is a collection of garments that clearly reflect what I find most important in clothes and what I love in designing,” says van der Horst. “Pieces are undeniably ‘me,’ yet they fit easily in to everyone’s existing wardrobe.”

In addition to the capsule collection for Topshop, van der Horst runs his own eponymous label under Fashion East, a British sponsorship platform, and will show a small menswear presentation at London’s first ever men’s week in June.

Available online and in-store, April 20.