An androgynous Autumn/Winter collection kicked off Northbrook college’s graduate show with Rhea Field’s take on tuxedos with a twist. The nude and black palette teamed with the surprising use of latex injected just the right amount of femininity to the aptly named ‘About A Boy’ collection. Polka-dot pussy bow blouses in ultra girly chiffon were given the tailored treatment with perfectly-pleated trousers and black lace-up boyish brogues; bow-ties were oversized or sugary pink and shirts were sequin-splattered in a perfect contradictory fashion. ?
Diana Alves drew her inspiration for ‘Parallel Fashion’ from contemporary architecture. To achieve her shapes she made a 3D pyramid from paper which she mounted on a mannequin. She then proceeded to create her abstract garments using this concept, find teamed with clever tailoring to create her sharp shouldered woollen jackets and satin and silk taffeta zip detailed dresses. ?
Anna Louise Moxon focused on body proportions in her graphics inspired collection ‘Illustration Subfocus’. With the use of prints she followed contours of the body to create full and feminine silhouettes. Her interesting designs are inspired by special effects in films, symptoms in particular CGI (computer generated imagery) and 3D animation. The retro colour palette of monochrome, dosage grey and red combined with the futuristic concept and use of layered textures and prints make for a really interesting and forward-thinking collection. ?
After a extremely brief 30-second interval it was Manchester’s University of Salford’s chance to shine, and shine, one designer in particular, quite literally did.
Alex Dubell began the show with ‘Modern Hysterics’,the first of three collections inspired by the surprising choice of soap opera Coronation Street, of which he says “just as in reality, life in ‘the street’ can be chaotic with events that are both dramatic and well hidden”.
He has chosen to represent this drama by the medium of extremely exaggerated and structured shoulders in a sparkly midnight blue palette which he describes as “the ‘out of touch’ moments that we all experience, which Coronation Street has dramatised so effectively for many years”. ?
Emma Lidell had a more futuristic vision judging by her collection ‘Grey Matter’ which does what it says on the tin. The show had a sports-luxe feel to it, courtesy of her use of marl jersey, but presented a twist with a heavy use of Perspex moulding and transparent ‘astronaut’ style skirts. She describes her collections as “garments evoking ambiguous intelligent thought”.
Danielle Ferguson presented the audience with the second Corrie based collection of the night, this time the inspiration came off the back of a particular storyline in her favourite programme rather than the show in general. The collection is named ‘My inner child’ and is based on Sarah Louise Platt’s teenage pregnancy and how becoming a mother at such a young age can force a person into adulthood. ?
She describes her creations as “both playful and grown up” demonstrated in the her full length adult romper-suit, cute cropped printed blouse which she teamed with a huge teddy bear skirt and a classy ankle length camel coat paired with a teddy bear ears hat. She also shows a penchant for polka-dots which can be found throughout the collection, on both demure scarves and a fitted top with overly-structured pleated sleeves reminiscent of a pretty bow.
Closing the show in spectacular fashion was Charlotte Lee Taylor whose collection ‘Bioluminescent Abyss’ was inspired by the black icy world beneath the sea, a world 13,000 feet beneath the surface untouched by the sun’s rays.
Charlotte invoked this bizarre and dark environment and the electric forms that light it with her midnight-black organza garments, which included a thigh-skimming transparent cage dress and a full length hooped cocoon style dress, the collection was mesmerizing enough without the final collective walk of the models down the runway, when a selection of each outfit burst into glowing halos of light, giving us mere humans a glimpse of the electrifying and mesmerizing world under the sea, never before seen by human eyes. Until now.
Anna Piercy, troche UCA Epsom, generic Illustrated by Lisa Billvik
Well well well the kids certainly know what they’re doing at Graduate Fashion Week this year. Sunday kicked off day one of shows for the creatively minded at our very own Earl’s Court and believe me these are the McQueens of the future.
UWE Bristol showcased some beautiful structured puffball dresses from Georgina Kitchen teamed with knee high socks and see-through metallic partitions. Jessie Potter had a clear vision too, healing showing off an appliquéd felt and wool collection in a 70s pallet of mustard and burgundy with pom-pom headdresses. Jessica Hart clearly had the most funm however – showing a pastel based range of graphic prints that Lady Gaga would feel sheepish in. Necklaces were gigantic, as were pockets, in what was a playful and crisp collection, complete with bow headbands of course. (Read more about UWE Bristol’s show here – with even MORE illustrations!)
Jessica Hart, illustrated by Jenny Goldstone
I was not expecting the standard of design as seen at UCA Epsom University’s show after though. Think of Pilgrim’s, 50s housewives, teddy boys, Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile and a dash of kids TV and you’re half way there. This was a serious clash of icons creating a surprisingly good statement for the University.
But amongst the host of talent there were some definite faces of the fashion future to watch, and a surprising amount of menswear. Remember you heard it here first.
Lucinda Ailes: One so patriotic, not to our fair Blighty mind, but all things American were emblazoned on everything through an array of stars and stripes. Models sported devoted shorts, leggings and maxi dresses but all was kept thoroughly wearable by grey mix-and-match pieces to wear back with the collection.
Katie Barret: A different kind of heritage was displayed in Barret’s show of menswear pieces. Thoroughly Scottish and proud of it, models sported full kilted dresses as well as the traditional skirts. The whole feel was very rugged using natural fabrics and even slightly drab colours. But each look was spiced up with a hint of tomato red, whether it be in a top or the waist detailing of said kilt instantly adding an extra something to the look.
Antonia Lloyd: Another one for the boys but this time not quite so manly. Lloyd made sure the boys sparkled in glittered tuxedo style shirts and knickerbockers to be proud of. There was something quite romantic about the look, with buttons done up to the neck and a palette of muted greys and navies.
Beata Gebka: I told you there were pilgrims and it came from Gebka’s show. Models sported traditional style long dresses accessorized with cloches and capes. As unwearable as it sounds, the pieces were surprisingly covetable, finished off with black ribbon detailing and even bib fronts. This may just be the new look come autumn and one that features heavily around the key muted pallet of greys and navies again.
Stency Kidega: Frills frills and more frills was what Kidega must have been dreaming of. They were added to the shoulders of jackets and the necklines of coats but wherever they were placed they looked beautiful. Kidega pulled off a very tailored collection, which isn’t always the most interesting, but the corset detailing on the dresses and the aforementioned jackets made sure that it was. Delicious.
Eve McDonald: McDonald definitely has a 50s housewife buried inside her otherwise she wouldn’t be able to produce such stunning floral shirts. But she’s also hiding a Teddy Boy too, as pieces were mixed with checked trousers and long shorts. Finished off with floral headscarves tied in oversized bows I almost wanted to pull on my espadrilles and listen to some good old Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Anna Piercy: It’s Piercy who brought the piece de résistance of the whole night for me. Piercey managed to create a collection based entirely around oversized letters. Seriously. Not that much to hear but the fabrics still flowed into beautiful a-line dresses with cut-out detailing. Even more intelligent was the use of panelling and sequins to create letters from the arms and body of a dress. And the finale – Piercey’s models came together to spell out the word ‘RANDOM.’ It was and yet I still liked it.
Illustrations by Lisa Billvik
How nice though that we got to see the faces behind the fashion as each designer (embarrassingly for most but certainly not all) walked the catwalk with one of their models. It was cheers and ovation all round from the crowd and do you know what…. they thoroughly deserved it.
It may have been the first ever International Show at Graduate Fashion Week, viagra but the designers did all they could to leave a lasting impression on London; collections came courtesy of universities spanning Europe with one show from students as far as Singapore.
The show launched with a strong start with Wolfgang Jarnach from the Akademie Mode & Design in Munich, his dark collection was made up of voluminous skirts and shoulders teamed with striking tailored jackets, topped off with a dramatic Count Dracula style cape.
In an equally theatrical fashion came Vicole Lang’s collection, which racked up the most air miles for GFW, coming in from the Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore. The show kicked off with a distinctly fetishism theme opening with a PVC bandage body suit, but seemed to become more gradually demure with each outfit, until the stunning Balenciaga-esque spiked and padded dress closed her a collection in show-stopping fashion.
After Vicole’s electrifying garments, a much needed cool off came courtesy of Lidya Chrisfen’s collection which swished down the runway to the calming sounds of an ebbing tide. The neutral palette, twisted rope detailing and seashell embellishments brought to mind shipwrecks and desert islands, whilst the daringly cut, printed maxi dresses injected a touch of red-carpet glamour to the collection.
Wearability was an apparently unimportant factor for a number of the international designers, as spectators at Earl’s Court witnessed recurring ‘head coverings’ as opposed to headwear from several collections. This theme was kicked off by Linda, hailing from Singapore’s LaSalle College of the Arts, who sent a seemingly ‘blind’ model down the runway in a denim hooded thigh-skimming mini dress, which zipped up balaclava style to the top of her head.
Linda, illustrated by Lisa Billvik
The concept continued in Anna Sergnova’s collection, whose medieval-inspired garments were dreamt up in the halls of Saint Petersburg’s State University of Technology & Design. Four of her six garments completely covered the model’s faces with knight style armour, metal visors and chain-mail helmets, teamed with gauntlets and protective Balmain style padded hips and shoulders. Unfortunately the safety of the models was somewhat blighted by the towering heel-less wedges in which they were precariously balancing on as they walked the runway.
Things only got stranger when Amsterdam Fashion Institute student, Floor Kolen’s creations took to the stage, she too showed a penchant for covering the eyes, this time through the medium of masks, rather scary looking plastic bird masks to be precise. She also took the acrylic route for a selection of her garments and accessories including a moulded bust style T-shirt, plastic feet shoes and demi-gloves which only covered the front part of the hand, but would nethertheless render the wearer helpless.
Floor Kolen, illustrated by Maria del Carmen Smith
It is often the English that are often regarded as the most eccentric people in the world; but maybe it is time to rethink this stereotype, because actually stranger things can and certainly do happen – just ask the international designers at GFW.
Images courtesy of catwalking.com
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