Monday, 25 June 2012

Graduate Fashion Week - Nottingham Trent University Show

It must have been daunting and exhilarating at the same time for the NTU students to find they were about to showcase their collections to a very packed audience. However nerves were kept in check as everything appeared to run smoothly.

Specialising in Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles, here are a few of their knitwear collections in the show.

Lily Mason – titled ‘Contemporary Heritage’

Inspired by Britain’s rich heritage of textile production, Mason used traditional weaving patterns and added a modern graphic twist. The colour palette was an autumnal landscape of rusts, dark reds, and greys. Fine gauge knits were neatly colour blocked with rust and grey, whilst in contrast graduating shades of dark grey crept up cream cable jumpers as though being soaked in to the wool.

Although layering and thick fabrics were used, bulkiness was avoided. Instead slim silhouettes were created by checked pinafore dresses with contrasting checked aprons, thick woollen baggy trousers belted to show off the waist and blanket wool skirts with vertical fringing.

Holly Marke - titled ‘Minus’
Minus refers to the weather in a cold hostile terrain, but Marke didn’t layer her fine gauge knits as this wasn’t about keeping warm. The clothes representing nature’s ice architecture with long slim maxi skirts creating majestically tall silhouettes, embossed knit patterns forming crystallised 3D shapes and metallic yarns sparkling like frost. The colour palette kept to icy greys and glacial whites.

This ‘Minus’ collection definitely was a plus in the fashion stakes, especially the white woollen mini dress with cut out ‘ice crevices’ running down the sleeves.

Olivia Williams – titled ‘The Second Skin’
Based on the notion of the second skin being exposed as the first skin sheds. Knits were textured and weighted to create a skin puckering effect, whilst the laser cut patterns on fine leather and suede allowed the second skin layer to peep through. Colour palette was of course shades of nudes.

Tamsin Lakhani – All or Nothing
Taking inspiration from the Ghana Kente cloth and the Maasai Shuka fabric, this collection was rich in colourful stripes and geometric shapes. The stripes were not uniform but a complex of varying thin widths which in parts broke away from the ‘straight and narrow’. To keep the focus on these intricate patterns, silhouettes were kept clean with high boat style necklines and simple t-shirt shaped dresses with side slits.

Orla Emerson-Creak: Title ‘Beauty in Death, The Art of the Illusion’
A black and white mesh textured top seemed innocent enough until you realised the inspiration for that top was a swarm of flesh eating bugs!

Maybe it’s best to remain blissfully ignorant of the inspiration for the rest of the pieces and just appreciate the intricate weave, the shape and style of the collection.

Loved the elongated bell sleeves, the dogstooth patterned skirts and my own happy illusionary thoughts of a 60s Mad Men look.

Harriet Brean – title ‘Conservo’
Not forgetting the men, Brean’s inspiration for her menswear collection was a combination of skeletal structures, plastic polygonal forms and the construction of historic garments. She played with high contrasts of shine with matt finishes, soft with hard fabrics and bright colours of blue and orange with black.

This was a show which kept the audience captivated throughout by starting on time (long delays can really dampen enthusiasm) and of course the great collections themselves. Well Done NTU!

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Graduate Fashion Week 2012 - Gala Show

Here at Earls Court, fashion graduates from all over the UK and also a few international college graduates were able to showcase their collections to the press, public and most importantly to fashion buyers and designers. Coming of age in its 21st year, Graduate Fashion Week ended with a spectacular Gala Show enabling the nominated graduates for the coveted Gala Awards to show their collection on the catwalk.

Hosted by Caryn Franklin, the show had a Best of Britain theme with a large Union Jack design set cleverly disguising and incorporating the stairs and runway entrance.

Fashion Promotion and Media Awards were presented by designers Julien Macdonald, Mark Fast, David Koma, Fred Butler and Mary Katrantzou with celebrities Daisy Lowe, Zara Martin and Louise Redknapp to name a few.

Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, Daphne Guinness and George at Asda's brand director Fiona Lambert presented the top prize of the George Gold award (plus £20,000) to Chloe Jones of Bath Spa University.

Chloe’s collection titled ‘Our Father Who Art in Heaven’ was inspired by Gothic architecture, stained glass windows and the ethereal figures that inhabit them. The colour palette was shades of soft serene greys and the print was of angelic wings. Flowing ethereal floor length silk skirts were worn with sporty style organza hoodies and marl jerseys. The monk like organza hoods gave a halo effect whilst the metallic embellishments on the sporty jerseys created a stain glass effect. It was definitely Chloe’s night as she also won the Womenswear Award.

Presented by designer Matthew Williamson, the Menswear Award went to Riona Horrox at Edinburgh College of Art.

Titled ‘Jack the Lad’ this collection was about oversized garments and volume layering. Oversized long tailed shirts were layered with oversized cropped shearling and padded vests, oversized cropped bomber jackets and oversized shaggy shearling detachable fur collars. This Jack the Lad was ‘having a larf’ with prints and the colour accent of bright orange. He splashed orange on his oversized sweat pant jeans with the effect of brush strokes bleeding into each other. Prints of bright orange bushy fox tails let him strut around giving his unique version of a country gent. The fox tail prints hung around the neck and shoulders of shirts and jackets mimicking furry scarves and adding virtual layering.

A new additional to the Award list was the Ethical Award. The honour of being the first ever winner of this award went to Sarah Murphy of Northumbria University

Whilst designer Jeff Banks was announcing the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, renowned veteran catwalk photographer Chris Moore was armed with his camera in the photographers’ pit ready to snap the winner. But to his surprise it was his name Jeff called out – that’s one image Chris couldn’t capture, but I’m sure he didn’t mind.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

AIU Graduate Fashion Show

Set in the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, American Intercontinental University (AIU) hosted its 2012 Graduate Fashion show and marketing exhibition.

Fifteen final year Fashion Design students showcased their collections of 6-8 outfits.
Backstage hairstylists from the Marylebone hairdressing salon Electric Hair created a feminine but androgynous look – volume on the top with hair flat at the sides and back.  A futuristic take on the 50s bouffant beehive style.

Makeup artists who trained at the Session School also created a twist on the 50s style.
The eyes were the main focus with the dramatic black ‘cat eye’ liner. The twist came with white eyeliner used close to the bottom lashes followed with another black line. Metallic and bold pastel shades were also used courtesy of the mineral cosmetic brand Bellapierre.

The show was hosted by TV stylist Nick Ede. First on the catwalk was Nazish Kalani’s collection titled Elixir of Refinement. Kalani’s aim was to portray a polished demure look. Using a palette of white, ivory and cream for  hope and the light seen at the end of the black tunnel, she returns to  gentle and humbler roots. The overall look was neat and simple, but a closer inspection revealed many textural layers with fabrics of crisp cotton and the denser felt being used (which in some pieces Kalani actually made). The folds in the long skirts were voluminous with fine pleat detailing on tops. Fringing trimmed the hem of a coat whilst a basket weave design gave texture to a black sculptural jacket.  

A few more of the design students were:

Basma El Ajou whose collection was titled Allure du Maroc. Inspired by the beauty of Marrakech, Basma created simple designs adding drama with a colour palette of petrol blue and orange to interpret the lush gardens, spices, terracotta tiles and radiance of Marrakech.  Rich fabrics of wool with cashmere and silk jersey were used. The key looks were the dramatic sweeping floor length cloaks with hoods adding a sense of mystery and the low crotch style harem style trousers.

Padraic Cowley with a collection titled Brown Paper. Starting with the British country tweed look, this collection became an eclectic mix of the gentry and the worker styles.  Short tweed coat, jodhpur style trousers worn with full blouse and a long coat of Aran wool with leather patched elbows mingled with a peasant like frayed shawl and elongated Aran jumper with waistcoat complete with the skeletal frame of a rowing boat. Earthy fabrics included organic flannels, cord, tweed, leather and wool.

Johnny Wang, collection titled Chaos: 3286. Partly inspired by David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet, Wang shows the earth ice bound in the year 3286. His collection is a patchwork of the high tech and the low primitive, a combination an explorer on an epic expedition would need to survive. Fabrics are rubber, plastic and synthetic fur. The fur ranges from stark white, candy to black, but always with a sheen as though reflecting the light from the blinding snow. Sleeves are exaggeratedly long and hoods deep and structured.

Celebrities watching the show included Zandra Rhodes who handed out prizes to the award winning AIU student designers at the end of the show and DJ Jodie Harsh.

Images provided by AIU London

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky