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Claes Iversen ss 2011

Butterflies -  a metaphor for the passage of time, beauty and fragility - provided the inspiration for Claes Iversen's latest collection.

By No author / 15-09-2010

There was much hustle and bustle in the oval concert hall at the historic Felix Meritis building in Amsterdam, where Claes Iversen presented his new collection for spring/summer 2011.

It was difficult to say whether the restlessness was from anticipation or the power struggle in play happening in the front row. When the lights were dimmed and the spotlights raised, all was calm. Until, moments before the first girl stepped on to the runway, one patron of the front row made a clumsy but honestly accidental move and knocked over a martini cocktail. The spill was sponged up in haste, avoiding injury, and a few light-hearted giggles ensued which helped in lifting the mood.

The show opened with a shower of white crêped paper butterflies falling from the domed roof. The opening number had them appliquéd - cascading to one side from head to mid-waist - to a structured white dress with a sheer back. The fluttering creatures were a recurring phenomenon; they continued to appear on printed silk dresses, adorned on shirts and even snuck into the goody bags (the paper kind, of course).

Iversen was inspired by the delicate creatures which to him represented a symbol of the passage of time, beauty and fragility. Springtime and butterflies are a clichéd combo but in this elegant interpretation they worked so well. Iversen seemed to have undergone his own metamorphism with this collection, which was all grown-up and fleetingly pretty. Last spring his romantic fantasies were cocooned and in place were pragmatic clothes that felt like pared down day-wear. This time he emerged free and triumphant with a tweaked aesthetic of feminine frills for sensational event dressing.

Throughout the show - which comprised 29 looks - Iversen remained thoroughly devoted to two things: pleating and neutrals. Pleating was where his mastery as a tailor began to stand out, it occurred in varying lengths and directions; vertically, horizontally, diagonally and all over. A neutral palette has been an overworked and winning theme in recent collections, so Iversen didn't dare buck the trend but he did spoil us with splashes of colour from shades of coral to sunshine.

His floor sweeping gowns and precisely swathed skirts would never look out of place at the opening of something fabulous or worn by someone famous. Yards of chiffon were pleated, pressed and gathered, brought back in simplicity by conventional nylon belts with plastic snap buckles at the waist. The perfectly tailored trench confidently confirmed that Iversen was as grounded as he was idealistic. The piece that gave everyone a dose of butterflies (in the stomach) and set the flashbulbs off, was a lingerie inspired bodice with charming shades of pale blue in the detail, paired off with a fanciful feather skirt: it represented the quintessential Iversen girl.

This collection revealed so much but mainly his talent for upscale dressing. He is in step with the girl about town and has neatly refined his craft to meet her demands. No doubt we'll be seeing more of Iversen's creations at the next star studded celebrity event.

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