Last night the University of Westminster kicked off the early shows for Graduate Fashion Week, and what a great way to start. This year’s 20 graduates showed an eclectic mix of approaches and each collection was bursting with creativity. There was a strong sense of personal style shining through and some real standout pieces. Here’s the low down from Disorder:
The first collection on the runway was by Lauren Osborn. Inspired by distortion and how humans form in the womb, her choice of simple, natural colours reflect this. A muted colour palette was a theme than ran through the rest of the show. We saw light grey and pale tones in the form of an impressive and experimental construction from Parsha Gerayaesh. Emma Kingham’s collection was experimental too, but plays around with optical illusions by manipulating digital print. Her inspiration was drawn from 1920s lingerie and the Art Deco era.
The menswear collection by Molly McCutcheon threw some colour into the mix and was a definite highlight. Molly, who has already worked for Paul Smith, Meadham Kirchoff and JW Anderson whilst studying, based her collection on 1930s menswear silhouettes and Riviera holidays. This shines through with her modern finishes and detailing coupled with her vivid coloured dyes.
More colour flooded the runway and Liam Freeman gave us true blue. A heavy use of leather created powerful silhouettes and a clear influence by strong female characters. Inspired also by the student riots the collection drew comparisons from the 80s and power dressing. The blue jumpsuit was a key piece that stood out among the refined hues of other collections.
Laura Joyner’s collection focused strongly on textiles mixed with a bit of glamour. Speaking to her after the show she said, “I was inspired by photographs of the Gorbles in Glasgow. Mainly children wearing hand-me-down clothes and washerwomen in their headscarves, who occasionally get glammed up to go out with the fisherman! I also wanted to remember my Scottish heritage.”
The collection by Kate Wallis, who has had experience working for both Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney, had a very strong focus on glamour.
Her pieces had a really strong look and were clearly influenced by, and designed, with a confident woman in mind. We loved her collection’s big silhouettes, gold-plated metals and feathers which created sophisticated sex appeal.
Olivia Deane’s collection also featured a series of looks which were both relaxed and glam. The pieces looked very wearable on their own, and we loved the leather jacket coupled with floral prints. The collection by Alice Overington also featured unique florals as well as bold silhouettes and a memorable quilted jacket.
Colour blocking was in full flow on the runway and featured memorably in the womenswear collections from both Rachel Warmisham and Catrina Holm. Rachel drew inspiration from various artists and photographers and their use of lighting and shadows. Her collection also enhances masculine elements yet still maintaining femininity. Catrina Holm’s collection specially addresses movement and the fluidity of the garment. She was influenced by subtle femininity and garments that create balance.
The collection by Alice Fern also focuses heavily on movement and twisting material on top of, or around the body, and experimenting with restraint. Her use of tie-dye, bold silhouettes and overlaying of materials were accented by vivid green eyeshadow.
Orange was a key feature on the runway this year and Laura Williams gave it to us in the form of outerwear. Drawing her inspiration from treks, travelling and vintage sportswear, this collection included layers of fabric and a mix of orange, blues and yellows.
Sarah Barber’s collection incorporated the outdoor layered look in a completely different way with her ‘Neanderthal’ style collection. Inspired by Inuit’s and the role of animals in shamanic practices, it is a truly creative collection that plays around with proportions. The shaggy fabrics enhance the animal influences and the lime green hues bring it all together.
Jenny Durrans use of orange and yellows featured in a collection which was inspired by ways of re-inventing the shirt and bra. Experimenting with draping oversized garments to create new body shapes, her bold use of colour works well and enhances the new contours that have been created.
Liam Hodges was a standout designer of the night and his influences from British society and social mobility came through creating a slick collection, and street-but-smart style. It has a real London feel to it, and we particularly loved his peacock feather hats.
Alice Carvill White’s collection incorporates street style with a dreamy, almost post-apocalyptic feel to it, which is also quite futuristic. The futurism theme continued with black and greys in Amy Cerklewicz’s collection and even more so in Ross Whittred’s collection. Inspired by architecture and strong modern silhouettes, the futuristic theme here was very strong. With Ross having worked for Christopher Kane, you can see influences here too.
Closing the show was a highly experimental and creative piece with an underwater theme by Olivia Hanson. Sashaying down the runway were inflatable turtles and jellyfish, brilliant colours encased in plastic over-garments. A memorable way to end an excellent show.