For their 2013 Graduate Fashion Show and marketing exhibition venue, American Intercontinental University (AIU) chose the spectacular One Mayfair on North Audley Street. Formerly St Mark’s Church, this Grade I building is one of the finest examples in London of neo-classical designs. In the centre of the impressive Grand Hall, the pure white minimalist runway juxtaposed with the surrounding Gothic decor of ornately carved dark wood and row of high stone arches creating a stunning and atmospheric setting.
The catwalk show included the collections of six final year fashion design students:
Designs were a science fiction take on the legend of King Arthur with the shapes and contours based on the Icelandic Volcano Eyjafjallajokull. A colour palette of white and fabric including wide leather strips, the garments were reminiscent of the medieval knights armour plate and layered in an armadillo design. Sparkling silver nets used on sleeves and in between the strips represented the chainmail, whilst chunky cotton ribbons knitted together like wool created a heavy and stiff tunic. Knights in Shining Armour never looked so good.
In contrast to the cool Knights, Michelle Kasujja’s collection was a hot blaze of spicy red shades and turquoise. A fusion of Ugandan and Scandinavian traditional costume, hems of mid calf skirts were trimmed with decorative ribbons and some of the sleeves took on the distinctive Ugandan style of elbow length and broad puffed shoulders. Garments were adorned with rows of stiff thread necklaces painted red to match the pieces. Jump suits and baggy trousers gave the traditional dress an additional element of street wear.
Sarashka also chose a colour palette of rich red. This time with accents of gold and black, and inspiration from Tibetan culture focusing on eastern traditions with a dash of contemporary style. Using traditional hand craft techniques, the collection emulated the ceremonial styles of Tibet. Textures play a leading role with stiff cowhide and printed sheepskin jackets and collars worn with soft merino felted wool and crumpled silk gowns. The punch holes in the leather skirt were painstakingly all handmade by Sarashka.
Award winning design of the evening went to Flaminia Mechoulam’s collection. All white for purity, the inspirations were of Tracing Light, ballet and water droplets creating a blurred femininity. Light fabrics of sheer cotton and georgette were layered for the blurred matt transparent effect created by Tracing Light. Flaminia used approximately 100 metres of fabric for the collection. The cut of the garments were of round shapes and circles to create curves around the body and represent ballet movements. She imagined a girl in a white gown dancing on the water and swimming underwater. The delicate hand painted pattern represents water droplets and a dusty layer of chalk as though the garment is drying in patches. The pattern was created by using a brush made from paper for the dusty marks and a pencil to splash on the water droplets. Finishing details included a picot edge stitch creating a curl to the hems and sleeves for volume and femininity.
And the boys were not forgotten:
Zaira Xitlalitl Aguilar Santoyo blends nomadic heritage with city life creating a flamboyant sartorial collection reminiscent of the Harlem Jazz scene Zoot suit of baggy trousers and long sack jackets. Here in toned down blocks of earthy brown and neutral shades with accents of red on trousers and the wide cravat tie.
Award winner of last year’s December Fashion Show, Taylor creates an urban male lost in a concrete jungle with no awareness of heritage. This well dressed wanderer wears warm voluminous coats and jackets, striped knitted and waxed denim leggings, and chunky knits with a chunky knit shopping bag on wheels for all his possessions.
Images provided by AIU London
By Karen GracePersonal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky http://www.frumpytofunky.com