PFW AW12: Katrien Van Hecke

I’ve never had dreadlocks and I’d rather die than play fire poi, but underneath it all I’m quite a hippy. I cycle, eat brown rice A LOT and bank ethically, but it’s all below-the-surface, right-where-it-matters, hippy stylings.

Katrien Van Hecke‘s AW12 collection tickled my inner hippy sensibilites, her clothes are dyed entirely with natural rather than man-made substances, but you wouldn’t exactly be running to wear them to Burning Man. Katrien uses nettles and spices to colour her clothes, but the results are far from drab, bright yellows, soft pinks and cosy blues all combine to varying degrees.

It’s the luxuriousness of her clothes that set her apart from basic eco-aesthetics, the maxi skirts with their criss-cross panelling and soft colours instill a kind of longing that might only be cured by some primal scream therapy or a prayer to Gaia, you know what I’m saying? I love the fluid, draped shapes of her dresses and tunics, the spattered patterns taking on an abstract life of their own. It’s like staring at clouds (ma-an), you can imagine all sorts in the spatters.

Katrien’s showroom was a Belgian haven from all the Paris Fashion Week Frenchness. She gave me a warm welcome as she explained her pre-industry working methods. Before I left Katrien even gave me a little sample of spice to take away with me, a sweet and warm-hearted touch.

I coined the term ‘hippycrite’ at university for all the people whose fathers had just paid for their dreads. Being a hippy on the outside is really quite dull, but Katrien Van Hecke marries traditional and long-lost techniques with an eye for the elegant.

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