Saturday, January 29, 2011


            I stumbled upon pictures of Martine Van ‘t Hul’s embroideries completely by accident. I love when that happens. Discovering such a treasure chest is such a delight.

            Memory and modernity are held together at once in the work of Martine van ’t  Hul, a fabric and couture designer whose contrasting use of synthetic and hand made fabrics evokes a particular notion of time – a time that is both nostalgic and forward-looking, timeless and ephemeral. 

            After her MA graduation at the Fashion Institute in Amsterdam in 2002, she started working in Milan for fashion designer Ronald van der Kemp. After a year she began as a freelance designer and found herself working for different companies like Larus Miani, a big Italian fabric company. Working as a freelancer enabled Martine to make her own work the focal point. Her specialty and passion lies in fabrics and embroideries. She loves to design embroideries, and plays with the idea of handmade versus production techniques. Martine launched her first collection in 2000. It is an infatuation with delicately embellished fabrics that has remained at the heart of her work as a designer. It was named Mi-Confectioné, a term that was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, which means 'half-produced'. Her vision for each garment is that the wearer adds to the design process with their individuality, completing the work that has been started by the designer.  This concept has become a part of her signature, as she still likes to play with the thought that something remains; forgotten and unsaid.

            Martine Van ’t  Hul designs embroideries which can be both hung on the wall and are portable such as enlarged applications or brooches. They are characterized by the tone-on-tone use of colour, the contrasting combination of materials, the picturesque manner of embroidering and the idea of “forgotten and unsaid”. The intricacy of the detail in Van ‘t Hul’s fabrics, which have included complex layers of fur, feathers, sequins, beads and lace, contain multiple references as she pilfers, pirate-like, from a chocolate-box assortment of periods, layering one upon the other. Unfinished patterns, loose wires, stacking of beads and sequins give the impression that it concerns intimate treasures in ancient times.

            For more pictures of her work, please visit her website:

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