Friday, 21 June 2013

Brilliant Colour and Bold Forms at London's Graduate Fashion Week

Naomi Lobley's collection of sculptural chunky knits at her catwalk show for De Monfort University
At this year's Graduate Design Week the world's best new fashion designers presented exciting collections to thrilled audiences. Design & Art Magazine's fashion correspondent Limor Helfgott files a special report from London.

THE annual high-octane fashion week in June for graduates of the world's best design universities is an opportunity to see the future of fashion in the making. Considered the creative event to find young innovative designers, it was the starting place for many talented fashion stars such as Stella McCartney, Christopher Bailey and Karen Milan.

This year's shows brought together more than 1000 graduates from 40 establishments in the United Kingdom. There were collections from 16 colleges and universities from around the globe including the United States, Turkey, Japan, Italy, Denmark and Israel. The designers presented their work in catwalk shows with a dynamic and international mix of models. The winner of the best international collection was Angus Chiang of Taiwan's Shih Chien University. He presented psychedelic futuristic spacemen designs full of eye-popping colour. The fashion schools who stood out among a talented crowd were De Montfort and the University Of East London.

The UEL and De Montfort University both had designers who presented work that was full of originality and verve. It will be interesting to see how they progress in the fashion industry. The De Montforts students' catwalk showed a mix of contemporary ideas that shone through their collections. The university takes pride in offering an inspiring environment for creation and teaching the students to be visually literate and have a strong grasp of technical know-how to become confident fashion designers. Below are the collections that stood out by individual designers.
Click on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Grace Cook created a feminine collection of sheer panels and tassels at the De Montfort University show.





Full of eye-popping colour Charlotte Mathews' show (below) had an unusual mixture of textiles, patterns and detailing. The collection was rebellious with psychedelic prints and outsize shapes that recalled the phosphorescent colours of the 1990s. Accessories included a boom box on the shoulder or as a bag and headphones to go with a Walkman in hand ~ all created for the rave clubbing crowd.

Charlotte Mathews' confident and bold collection with a retro 1990s aesthetic using bright colour and generous silhouettes.

A boom-box makes a capacious handbag at Charlotte Mathew's collection

Presenting a light-hearted collection, Jade Wainright's designs were full of layers, bright colours and mixed floral fabrics and patterns. She presented a kimono-shaped jacket, a jumpsuit accessorised with large jewels in sequins, metallic embellishments and knitted bags.

Jade Wainright's layers of colour, pattern and different fabrics created a feminine look.

Showing the the most wacky womenswear collection, Kelly Frost playfully took the current trend for cat motifs to another level. Synthetic furs and patterns such as giant polka dots and plaid was all put together in a juxtaposition of colour and texture. The dominant colours were bubblegum pink and neon yellow in socks, shoes and jelly sandals. This collection symbolised a daring, non-conformist kind of girl with love for some extra attention.
 Kelly Frost's collection was full of contrasting textures and hues with cat motifs



Kim Philips collection was selected to be presented on the catwalk showing the best of the shows on Graduate Fashion Week’s last day. Philips designed a collection that works well for the British weather ~ especially for wet summers. There were floral Macs, big bulky rain jackets, jelly boots, a bomber jacket with a 3D bulldog face on the back and pom-pom ears headgear. The strangest pieces were the check nose masks that covered some of models faces.

Kim Philip's zany collection of winter knits and puffy, shiny jackets embossed with floral motifs.






Inspired by farm life, Elizabeth Arthur’s collection was quite rare as fashion and rural pursuits are often mutually exclusive enterprises. But her technical abilities made the difference in this collection and featured china-pink and azulejo-type prints. The garments looked like they were made out of different pieces but were in fact cut as a one piece of garment.

Inspired by pink porcelain china and farm wear, Elizabeth Arthur created an upbeat and fun show

In the knitwear section, Naomi Lobley’s stunning collection of chunky fringe knits used mohair and crochet in a palette of mute colors, crafted with perfectly-placed holes and occasionally touched by a patch of vibrant neon in light blue or yellow. Each one of the pieces fabrics and patterns was presented in a bold way and created the perfect ending for the De Montfort catwalk.

Naomi Lobley's bulbous cream knitwear accessorised with bold, neon jewellery

Naomi Lobley's flamboyant knitwear combined with a lime-green and blue cellulose skirt.

The University of East London opened the third day of Graduation Fashion Week in style with a catwalk that was both original and inspiring. The students proved they have good technique and great vision. This school's show was highly praised by excited bloggers and certainly raised the level for the rest of the universities showing that day. All seventeen collections by the talented students proved why this school has created a name for itself and is considered to be a manufacturer of  forward-looking and  innovative fashion. The outstanding collections are described below:

A palette of pastel blues and pinks gave Jazz Gina Brar's collection  a soft 18th Century look with voluminous hemlines creating dramatic silhouettes. Looking like delicate pieces of art, the designs included ruffles, pleats and embroidery of tiny details.
The pastels and voluminous skirts by Jazz Gina Brar

Jazz Gina Brar was inspired by the 18th Century for her graduate colllectiion

Marietta Kalvi presented an outstanding collection combining a few of the hottest trends of the moment: tailored jackets, playful midi skirts teamed with sheer tops creating a casual and effortless sense of style. An interesting twist was the use of red together with neutral colors making a particularly feminine look offset the model's anarchic hair cuts.

An intricate pattern on pale silky blouses offset brilliant red skirts and vests at Marietta Kalvi's show

The aristocratic and elegant collection by Rochelle Mullings was inspired by a dark period in London when Jack the Ripper dominated the headlines in the late 19th Century. The designs were a creative interpretation of Victorian fashion. The designer mixed ruffles at the waistline and a voluminous hemline with trousers and layers of colour. Deep red, brown, mustard yellow and gray symbolised the dim and foggy hues of a soot-filled London.

Dark and gothic 19th Century tales inspired  Rochelle Mulling collection and belies their elegant cut and rich colour.


Brilliant colour enlivened Elizabeth Harrison’s collection with a vibrant palette of bright yellow, blue and red. Tailored yet feminine silhouettes with a laid back attitude, trousers and skirts with special cuts and combination of fabrics made the designs appear fresh and full of energy.

Clashing colours that work together at Elizabeth Harrison's show enhanced by sharp hair and make-up that completed the look.


During the menswear shows, Charles Chambers' collection attracted attention. Presenting cycling gear with chic, he was inspired by the biking community. Traditional British tailoring combined with sportswear and by using layers of jeans and shorts over leggings, Chambers' added a cool edge. Three quarter trousers, biker’s gloves and bags, all created an urban sporty style. The look was accessorised with a bike – that was carried onto the catwalk by the models and used in the show.

Charles Chambers brought the bike and its fashions to this year's catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week while Joel Bostock created a sporty and modern collection (below).






Inspired by shadows and trees, Fracesca Holgado's collection for the University of East London.





Jamie MacKinnon's menswear collection was sophisticated and full of rich textures

Mackinnon proved again this season that black is the new black.


Scintillating colour at the Kirdandeep Bassan collection at Northampton University






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