Esther Dorhout Mees | The woman behind the brand
It was January 2013 when I had the privilege to watch the catwalk show “Conversion” of Dorhout Mees at the Amsterdam Fashion Week. I made sure to post Here how impressed I was with the fabrics, color explosions and the beauty and grace shown in every detail [a few looks below].
Nine months have passed and I was granted the pleasure and privilege of interviewing this fabulous and sensitive designer. Below you have the result of our lovely chat [which will be followed by a post with the photos of S/S 2014 collection: La Belle Époque].
A sensitive person who loves to create. Someone that can live in her own world. A perfectionist! Someone who finds kindness and warmth in beauty and lives to make something out of nothing.
That was Esther’s reply to the question Who is the woman behind the designer – if there is a strict separation. Once the woman, was, somewhat figured out, I wanted to know more about the designer, When did it all begin?
EDM: It is funny that you ask because, recently, when I was going through some old boxes in my parents home, I found some old drawings of what must have been my first designs, which was my favourite thing to do in the whole world. They where mostly models of dresses and I was 5 years old at the time. Which sounds about right because I started making my first dresses at around 7, with the help of my grandmother. Then I would paint the prints on them with my own hands. Those are my first memories of what fashion was for me.
It is interesting how traveling back in time might be a way to travel forward to what we are and want to become… which lead to my next question: When you look at your collections, what would you identify as your signature?
EDM: Organic forms in contrast with sharp structural forms. The base of all my collections are prints, silk, wool and delicate knits combined with the use of wearable unconventional materials. I am fascinated by the connection between the body and the materials; so, covering and uncovering the female body is always the starting point. The contradiction in structures, silhouette and textures is, definitely, the essence of my collections.
TC: How did the collections presented in the Amsterdam Fashion Week show the above and, simultaneously, a new side of you?
EDM: My goal is to take people on a journey when they come to my shows. It is about lifting them up, and taking them with me on the journey that I went on. Instead of just presenting them with the conclusion, which are the collections, I want people to feel it themselves, taste it, live it. This is the context I want people to see my collections in.
One thing that I am always curious about is how the collections evolve in the designer eyes and how attached or detached they became towards them. So there I go and ask Esther: Do you have a favorite piece or collection?
EDM: I find that the same as asking someone who has children to choose a favorite. They are all individual reflections of a time period and tell their own story, yet, somehow, they belong together and together they are my voice telling my story.
TC: What are your thoughts and posture regarding sustainable fashion?
EDM: For me it is a very important element of fashion. I only work with natural products. I also find it very important that the production site is a safe and healthy workplace for the employees. That is why I like to have my production made mostly in Europe.
I hope we can all move away from fast fashion and understand our responsibility. Buy less! What you buy, make sure it is high quality. This way you’ll have a beautiful pure product, that might cost more but will last longer. It is a matter of thinking about what you buy and the price you pay. Cheap items cannot be produced in a conscious and responsible way. We can all contribute to change this.
TC: What can we expect from Dorhout Mees as a designer and artist on your next collection?
EDM:I will always want to push myself further, by questioning, feeling, and by coming closer to the truth of balancing the conceptual with wear ability. I will keep telling stories. But bottom line is: I want to empower women and enhance their beauty!
The interview was almost over. Many other questions left to be asked. Perhaps in a future encounter as we see this beautiful woman and designer show us more of her art. But there is one I always ask because it is personal, somehow, to me as well: What was the most important moment of your career so far?
I had a lot of beautiful moments in my career when working for other brands. Nevertheless, there is nothing like creating your own brand and your own collections. It is ultimate freedom and release of any sort of restrictions. Above all it is creation and to me that is magical!
Thank you Esther, for your time and the pleasure that was seeing fashion, your fashion, through your eyes!
To learn more about Dorhout Mees please visit her page: http://www.dorhout-mees.com
Watch the beautiful collection movie HERE produced by the designer.
You can also find Dorhout Mees on Facebook and Twitter.