Friday, 12 June 2015

Among the audience at a fashion show

For fashion students approaching graduation, the end is just the beginning. Their final project, the six piece collection, is the start of their career- A possible entrance into the professional world, a visual definition of who they creatively are. It's an amalgamation of all they've learnt and an inspired spurt of their creativity. It's, for an outsider, interesting. Who is this person? What are they about? Will they be a future British treasure?

On Sunday 31 May, I went along to the UCA Epsom runway show at Graduate Fashion Week in Shoreditch. A recurrence throughout the collections was oversized structures and playing with proportions. The lengthy sleeves at Sarah Gillings, the thick shaggy wool capes at Danielle Wilson, and the wide draped arms at Zahra Rose Alazaibi all disguised the figure underneath. Menswear designs from Annie Bostock and Priya Ahluwalia had an air of 'the street' with baggy sweaters and loose-fitted trousers and shorts. Even the more flamboyant of creations- the floral appliques at Holly Cooney and the splatters of paint-like colour at Nicole Whitmer-Bramble were formed from loose garments.

Japanese influences (the innovative and distinct styles of Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto etc) were present. At Paula Talja, shoulders of a dress were prominently rectangular, descending down at the corners in thick black, and pleats in mystical colours of potion pink, electric blue and starry yellow unexpectedly fell from the chest, hips and from underneath black layering.
At Naba Shan, clothing conventions were ignored and ribbons of glossy orange and silver were intertwined like paper chains and wrapped around the body.
Laura Roberts experimented with a jumble of materials all in an innocent white. Like taking a Victorian child and allowing her to rebelliously mix herself into the present day, a ruffled sleeve and milkmaid hat were paired with a deconstructed crochet blouse, the left breast on show through a piece of sheer fabric.

With the attention-grabbing colours (Nicole Ranger's turquoise and peach pallet, Shreyaa Mavani's childlike merging of primary colours and navy gingham), playing with shapes, and the laid back aesthetics, it was all a reflection of youth and that no care attitude. It was about pushing boundaries and proving what they can creatively achieve, focusing more on clothing as an art form than the commercial side of things. And that's what tends to last in the fashion world because that's what people remember.

My favourites? Paula Talja for her inventiveness and range of skills and Danielle Wilson for the dreamy capes, cosy knits and that overall essence of Autumnal perfection.

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