Graduate Fashion Week & Royal College of Art 2004 Reviews & Awards
London College of Fashion
Highlights from this year’s London College of Fashion graduates includes: The opening collection from Nil, a three-strong team which comprises of Stephen Ma, Kwok Ming Tsai and Mei Ming Yeung. Inspired by the simplicity of nihilism the trio sent out minimal tailored pieces that took sections away rather than adding them, in plain shades of black, white and grey. Menswear was particularly strong at the LCF show and it was good to see a number of graduates focusing in tailoring and casualwear for the boys. Lisa Linden combined muted oranges and blues with blacks and greys in her tailored menswear collection that was all about unique and subtle details. Denis Antoine used colour to great effect combining pastel shades with deeper tones in a collection that leant towards a chic, boyish holiday vibe.
Still on menswear, and Johanna Bloomfield combined comfort with a utilitarian feel in slouchy and enveloping shapes. Back to the girls, Lincoln Cheung played with forms and reinvention, creating new shapes from existing pieces. Other mentions go out to Elvira Sazesh with a well executed collection of modern sexy dresses and pleated hooded capes. Graeme Armour & Kirsty Monteague for their lean tailoring and their well-cut punched leather, and finally Wei Ling Cui who took us on a spiritual journey of layered tunics, frills and fine pleats decorated with silver jewellery & jangling bells. Cut’s section was rounded off with the ultimate see me, hear me piece – a fitted catsuit covered in jangles – the packed out audience cheered & clapped in appreciation, definitely one of those fashion moments.
Well constructed and wearable – summed up many of the pieces on display at the Ravensbourne show. While it’s certainly no easy task to single out individuals from such a broad range of talent, there were a few that somehow caught the eye with that little bit extra. Hannah Bird opened the show with her fit and flare dresses, the extra oomph being in her use of prints and fabrics that flitted between matt and shiny. Adam Crick combined beautifully pleated skirts and retro tinged patterns and styled them up with red hot PVC tights and shoes – which guaranteed attention. Sounds mad but he made it work. Going the more Irish country route Mayur Ghadialy sent out chunky knit and baggy card’s with striped blazers and leather satchel bags. Enna O’Connor gave us a taste of drama with her floor-length gathered Grecian style dresses. Meanwhile, Rachel Bonney borrowed elements from the classic trench coat with her wrap-over tightly belted dresses. Her collection also featured lean skinny pants with puffy side bucket pockets in hues that ranged from pale cream to deep gold and bronze. Last, but by no means least, Layla Zaa produced a beautiful and sparkly collection, touching on inspiration from the East, whilst maintaining a feminine and modern feel.
Royal College of Art
As you would pretty much expect the Royal College of Art put on an extremely good show, displaying some exquisite and innovative collections. Held onsite at the College, models navigated a maze of a catwalk against a backdrop of projected visuals in sweltering temperatures. (Fans were supplied.) Inspiration from this year’s graduates ranged from urban sportswear to Russian folk costume and lots in-between.
Wendy Dagworthy, Head of Fashion and Textiles said of this year’s design talent: “The ideas presented in this year’s show reflect confidence and diversity. The collections demonstrate a unique fusion between traditional processes and new technology. Womenswear designers focus on a resurgence of interest in colour and pattern – creating a vibrant and positive mood. Menswear highlights the extremes between hard core tailoring and outrageous use of unexpected fabrics and proportions – more puff than a patisserie!”
Trends from the RCA Designers of Tomorrow:
Some of the reoccurring ideas and themes at the RCA show included: clever insertions of unexpected fabrics: Tweed fused with sports fabrics Amanda Watkins, shaped inserts forming graphic patterns around the body Ruth Simmonds, fine knitwear combined with high performance sports fabrics â€“ Anna Strzelecki and leather paired up with wool Andrea Rapoport. Silhouette wise the range was diverse, popular choices included – draped loose hanging sections, (think 1970’s Cardin – jersey knit dresses with integral capes and multiply the idea) tiny bolero jackets with puff sleeves Katherine Agger, exaggerated hoods Anthony Noll, and multi-coloured stripes galore Andrew Hempel, Lydia Cox and Joy Chan. A personal RCA favourite came from womenswear knitwear designer – Anna Aagaard, pieces featured plenty of twists, cross-over sections and attention to detail.
GFW GALA SHOW AWARDS:
Topshop Collection of the Year – Denis Antoine (London College of Fashion)
Topshop Womenswear – Krishna Jethwa (University of Westminste
Topshop Menswear – Denis Antoine (London College of Fashion)
L’Oreal Paris Best Use of Colour Award – Sara Eason (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Topshop Visionary Knitwear – Romany Taylor (Nottingham Trent University)
Topshop High Street Excellence – Layla Zaa (Ravensbourne College of Design)
Zandra Rhodes Catwalk Textiles – Vicky Kerridge (University College of Northampton)
The Real Sheepskin Association – Laura Moore (University of Central Lancashire)
Turn On Cotton USA Award – Charlotte Good (Middlesex University)
Special Lifetime Achievement Award – Jeff Banks (Designer & Chairman of GFW)