Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Fashion Show 2007: Manchester Metropolitan

Those of you who’ve seen Fame (you know the one, store information pills “Remember my name (FAME!)/I’m gonna live forever” and all that jazz) may remember the relatively small but significant character called Bruno. He hated playing in the strings section of the orchestra because he could electronically create an orchestra of sound and fury on his own, information pills healing resulting in much dancing in the streets and on taxis…

…The comaprison: Napoleon IIIrd Napoleon IIIrd. Why he hasn’t had more Fame action himself is quite beyond me. Though that said, I had heard on the grapevine that the man was touring with a full band and was hoping to see and hear such a spectacle in the flesh. But alas, whilst hoping that the brass section was hiding out in the toilets working up the saliva to play, the man himself emerged to take his place behind two microphones, that met above a keyboard, nestled between all manner of electronic and musical paraphernalia…and no band.

Never mind though, performing solo, he didn’t disappoint. Unexpectedly formidable, Napoleon is energetic and jerky as his music often is. One thing is that from the start, Napoleon is so believable. Without guile or pretensions, yet vaguely angsty and almost aggressive, not quite desperate but definitely hopeful, he is one man doing his own orchestral manoeuvres in the dark.

Like a proud band leader, pumping his metaphoric baton triumphantly, Napoleon IIIrd conducted his way through the set with a well practiced panache; twiddling with levels, blue-tacking keys, pressing buttons and bristling on his guitar. Completely comfortable but not complacent, Napoleon IIIrd played with abandon. With heavy industrial beats, crunchy glitches, big refrains, random samples and a pre-recorded choir of Napoleons to back him up, Napoleon IIIrd’s music is quite epic live. It’s all the more strange to match the sound to the scene when the guy is all alone on stage amongst his band of merry, electronically recorded selves.

So remember his name, because Napoleon IIIrd is dynamite.
Having studied graphic design, remedy I too had put on a show at my university and then made the journey to London to showcase my talents to industry moguls. My experience was, remedy well, pretty shit – but this was flawless. With over 50 stands showcasing talent, 2 fashion theatres and an orange-carpeted Moët bar for pre-show drinks, GFW supported by River Island (amongst other major players) really packed a punch.

The show itself was excellent. Well produced and structured with 15 of MMU’s elite from the BA (Hons) Fashion programme presenting their collections. There were few reoccurring themes between designers, and I was actually pleased to see that all but one (who shall remain nameless) had resisted the urge to dress his/her models like circus acts. PVC was present in more than one collection as was a Nu-Rave theme (yes, I know) which, on first look, was a little bit disappointing. The graduates had selected carefully, however – and fluro accessories were paired well with excellent tailoring. Silver and charcoal colours were strong and far more charming than anything in neon.

Liam Evans started the show with a gold gimp suit (think Gareth Pugh). After a little eye rolling (from me) and rib-poking (from my friend) Evans’ collection was actually okay with some interesting printed numbers.

The collections of Chhaya Mistry and Ross Stephens won my vote in menswear, featuring (amongst other things) heavy references to the past, ghetto gold accessories and classic tailoring any modern gentleman would be proud of.

In womenswear, where the competition is stark, none of the designers were disappointing. Jocelyn Coleman’s elegant dresses were fantastic, with a ‘twin’ theme, which again gave us something new and exciting without being ridiculous. Empty twin-halves and shoes featured in the outfits and created emotion, and Coleman’s closing piece, a twin-dress (featuring 2 models) was a delight. This was all complimented with the inclusion of well-tailored commercial denim pieces proving Coleman will be an all-rounder.

Jude Macaskill’s simple yet elegant jersey bat-winged dresses were sporty whilst not overdoing it, asserting an evident knowledge of key trends. Rachel O’Loughlin was suitably on the ball too with newsprint t-shirts, pleated skirts, trenches and badge clusters.

Hasan Hejazi is sure to be a designer to watch, and presented the most sophisticated collection. What looked like sheepskin was used for both coats and skirts; using feminine shapes, a bold red palette and PVC for a hint of kink. And even though the nature of a graduate show lends all the exhibitors couture status, it was Hejazi’s collection which would fit most under a ‘couture’ heading.

It was Jane Rutter’s collection which was most arresting, with a sudden change into classical music. Models were strewn with old navy rope, and rag dolls were suspended from their shredded clothing which featured tired and worried Union Jack prints. A real story-telling collection – even though I’m not exactly sure what the story was.

Overall, a very sophisticated show with an enjoyable blend of conceptualism, creative skill and appropriate splendour. MMU, along with Northumbria at Newcastle, has a reputation for nurturing future British designers in the North. From what I saw, it should hold onto that reputation for, at the very least, another year.

Categories ,Conceptual, ,Graduate Fashion Show 2007, ,Manchester Metropolitan, ,Student

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