Amelia’s Magazine | LFW09 – Rachel Lamb S/S 2010 – The Skin I am In

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The best thing about attending an MA final fashion show is that you can well and truly leave your preconceptions at the door. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of interest in Rachel Lamb, who is showing the culmination of her Fashion Scout has a reputation for showcasing up and coming designers tipped for the big time. Rachel was selected for the MRHC Nobellini competition and has spent this past year collaborating with a leading PhD student. She was also chosen to assist fashion artist Di Mainstone during her residency at Eye Beam, a leading Arts and Technology centre in New York

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It’s clear a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into the event, rather literally in fact. The theme of the night is ‘Bodylab.’ Projections of anatomical diagrams, mixed with design illustrations flicker on the walls and the music pulsates a fuzzy beat reminiscent of a broken heart monitor. Assistants are handing out promotional packs in white doctor’s coats. The designer has laid out articles presenting the inspiration behind the collection.

rachel lamb illustration

The lights dim and the music switches to various female covers of tracks such as Animal Collective’s ‘My Girls’ (or rather ‘My Boys’) . The scientific spell is broken and we are presented with what is clearly a very personal and feminine collection. Each piece seems to exhibit the ironic mix of female confidence and it’s frailties. The models strike provocative poses, elbows jutting out and spines curved backwards. This is not your typical runway show, it’s a performance piece.

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The model’s movements serve to highlight the asymmetric silhouettes the pieces create. Sculpted hips are softened with silky drapes cascading down the neckline and thigh. It is easy to draw comparisons as a quirky mix of Donna Karan draping and Balenciaga construction.


Cascade Claudia, one of the collection’s most eye catching pieces, shows a rigid halter neck with chutes of draped silk jersey flowing down the back. The luxurious curves down the body develop into voluminous harem pants which cut off dramatically mid calf. The neutral tones almost merge with the model’s skin, meaning it is difficult to tell where the garment ends and her skin begins.

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Accessories are kept to a minimum, with the real impact of the collection coming from the prints and shapes. Shoes follow the theme of subtle nudes, and seem to blend into the neutral shaded body suits. However to contrast with the soft nature of the colour palette, Bruised Bella wears a dentist’s mirror as a pendant. Rachel explains, ‘Accessories are metaphors for the human urge to transform. Clinical chrome dentistry and doctor’s apparatuses tweak, pluck and reinvent human form.’


The delicate creamy beige tones are mixed with flashes of blotchy pinks and peaches. Using her own Celtic complexion as a muse, the colour palette explores how a woman’s skin can act as what Rachel describes as an ‘emotional barometer.’ The fabrics move from silky, to matt textures and then to moulded leather. The collection appears like a journey through the skin and indeed through femininity; from youth to maturity, from cool composure to blushes of emotion, encompassing each woman’s preoccupations with the feminine self. “I am etched into this collection, as it is everything I am.”

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The concept behind this collection is certainly thought provoking and if I’m honest, incredibly moving. The fashion world strives for perfection, and this collection champions the beauty of imperfection, the ever-changing shape of the female body. However, even without prior knowledge one can appreciate the complex technology employed in the use of contrasting fabrics, structure and draping. The pieces are visually stunning, yet from someone who has clearly had to battle against time and budget. It is refreshing to encounter a designer who can display her own consciousness so candidly into her collections. It seems that Rachel has a bright future ahead of her; with a talent to create pieces which are both aesthetically and conceptually striking.

Photographs by: Paul Marr

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