On Saturday evening a selection of students from the Swedish School of Textiles transported their graduate collections to our fair city to give us a taster. A year ago, graduating students from Sweden did the same thing and Amelia was bowled over by what was on display, so I was pretty eager to see what this year’s offering offered.
The Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue at Freemason’s Hall wasn’t packed wall to wall like it usually is, which suits me fine – I was only mildly sweating as opposed to my usual soaking-wet state. A glance down the running order while I waited for the show to start revealed that this was to be pretty epic – no less than 17 BA and 4 MA graduates. Here goes!
The show kicked off with Isabella Falkirk. Foam shapes took centre stage, squared off to control the contours of the female form. The model was essentially wearing a foam box. The aesthetic was pleasing, but the model looked miserable, and I did have to wonder to myself how viable or groundbreaking this show opener was. A similar creation followed atop a model’s head, and I wondered further; this wasn’t fashion to wear on a visit to the shops to pick up milk. Despite this, underneath the shock tactics was some extremely wearable and well-tailored formal attire – sleek trousers and well-cut blazers. A reaction to the strains of work, the collection finished with a conceptual jacket with four or five layers, showing Falkirks’ vision a little more clearly. I liked this piece a lot.
All photography by Matt Bramford
Next came chic and crisp tailoring courtesy of Per Axén, whose concept through the juxtaposition of materials was a little more commercial but equally as enjoyable. A leather cape flirted with cream free-flowing trousers that looked elegant and futuristic at the same time. Other leathers had been married with cottons for the same effect, and geometric shapes featured, a la Mondrian.
Freja Sundberg‘s BA Graduate Collection, illustrated by Christina Demetriou
Up next came Freja Sundberg‘s homage to the working class people of Havana and their music and culture. A lively collection, it featured Cuban prints in a multitude of colours, plastic skirts and lively wigs with flashes of red. Statement jewellery also appeared, and the final piece, an extravagant gold silk dress with a discreet print, had been gathered with drawstrings and rucksack pulls. A real winner.
Sofi Svensson (BA) Graduate Collection, by Faye West
The standout collection for its sheer bravery, conceptualism and bloody amazing craftsmanship, was Sofi Svensson’s masked creatures. Models appeared like they had landed from a Doctor Who novel, wearing ghoulish masks with eyeholes that became long, wide dresses. Each had been encrusted and embellished to the max – jewels, crystals, plastic objects and mirrors filled every piece of the garment. Again, this was fashion as expression and conception rather than as a commercial commodity. Breathtaking, too.
Maja‘s collection brought us back in to the real world a little, but was by no means boring. Beautiful pastel shades in lemon, lavender and blush were the colour palette. A structured jacket had been juxtaposed with a sheer micro dress, while a skirt and a top carried gorgeous flower details.
Linnéa Woxinger Sköld
‘Living creatures affect me in a way nothing else can,’ exclaims Linnéa Woxinger Sköld on the handout, ‘…and fashion, at its best, gets very close to this fascination. How close can I get?‘ Pretty close, love. Linnéa’s collection was a fusion of organic shapes and experimental materials. An unusual mint-coloured translucent number opened her showing, which had been gathered together working against the model’s body. A body-concious number followed, then other dresses with organic twists and turns. This was like something I’d never seen before, but I really liked it.
Elin Engström‘s BA Graduate Collection, by Christina Demetriou
Questioning the conquer-all ethos of the suit and fashion’s fascination with it, Elin Engström presented an expertly tailored collection in monochrome. The first model appeared with a large tube covering her face that looked a bit like those things you put on dogs to stop them sniffing their arses (is that what they’re for?) and was teamed with a large cloak. Later came a onesie, in which the model’s arms were unable to escape. Wild vase-like shapes were worn over the eyes, creating an ethereal effect. More tailoring followed with horse-hair details, but the real showstopper was an embellished translucent jacket with matching strange-vase-like-sunglasses-thingies.
Closing the BA section of the show in dramatic fashion, Ida Klamborn presented an all-red collection of floor-length numbers. The colour choice and use of grand fabrics made for a sophisticated, luxurious collection of pleated skirts and high-waisted trousers. Sweet.
At this point I was desperate for the loo, and I just couldn’t make up my mind if I thought attendee Jay from E4 show Dirty Sexy Things was attractive*. I do love seeing graduate shows – they have fewer constraints and no worries about commerciality. But during London Fashion Week, with so many shows to think about, I did find it a little exhausting. The show wasn’t over, though, and we quickly launched into the MA graduates – you can read all about them in Akeela‘s review here!
*I decided in the end that yes, he probably is.
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