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Derby Uni Student Impresses Prada Designer


Elyse, a BA (Hons) Fashion student, created four outfits for her collection, Complex Purity. Based on her interpretation of the arts and crafts movement, it showcases elements of chunky knitwear, crochet and disproportional lines.

At the University’s Big Show Fashion Show held at Derby Theatre, Elyse was awarded the accolade for Best Fashion Collection 2015, after being chosen by a panel of judges, including Head Designer for Women’s Knitwear for Prada Group, Roberta Marcolin.  

Elyse Durr award 1

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, Professor John Coyne presents Elyse with the award

Elyse, 21, said: “It’s such a strange but amazing feeling seeing your collection all come together on the runway.  

“My collection reflects a sense of relaxed and timeless appeal, with a real focus of fine fabrics and creating comfortable staples that have a directional twist.

“It’s about creating exquisitely crafted pieces, inspired by the nature of fabrics, the process of ageing and the intricacies of different cultures.

“My concept developed from my interpretation of the arts and crafts movement, which incorporates two contrasting factors. These factors being that, handcrafting an object is a very complex process within itself and yet the movement was directed towards ‘simplicity of living.’”

Elyse Durr award 2

Elyse Durr award 3

Elyse Durr award 4

Elyse Durr award 5

Images from Elyse’s portfolio

Roberta Marcolin, Head Designer for Women’s Knitwear at Prada Group, helped judge the Best Collection category, alongside Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, Professor John Coyne, and David McGravie, who is Head of Art and Design.

Roberta, who is based in Italy, previously worked for Dolce & Gabbana for 18 years as Women and Men’s Head Knitwear Designer. From 2005-2010, she established her own woman knitwear collection before working with Prada.  

Elyse Durr catwalk 1 Elyse Durr catwalk 2

Elyse, who is from Runcorn, in Cheshire, added: “I am absolutely delighted to have been honoured with the award and overwhelmed by all the positive feedback, comments and support I have received during my time at University and my year out in industry.

“It is a fantastic feeling to know that a head designer from such a prestigious fashion house as that of Prada has not only seen my work but has felt it worthy of an award.

Elyse Durr catwalk 3 Elyse Durr catwalk 4

Catwalk images by Richard Richards, photographer at the University of Derby.


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