London College of Fashion BA and FdA show
On a very balmy evening in Shoreditch the queue of fashion people tailed back along the front of Hackney House, which is going to be an exhibition, media and conference centre during the London Olympics this summer. Tonight, however, it was host to the second annual London College of Fashion BA and FdA runway shows. This was the chance for the fashion world to see all of the unusual and daring designs that the LCF students have been busy making and developing for the past year.
The catwalk was set in the middle of a “Big Top” style room with seats for the audience around the edge. Triangular wooden and mirrored blocks dangled in the centre of the ceiling and were imitated by taller, mirrored triangular prisms that stood on the floor to one side of the room — presumably it was from this maze of mirrors that the models were going to appear.
As the music started (possibly a song by HEALTH) the first collection began to emerge from the labyrinth of pillars. It was a menswear collection by designer Rory Parnell Mooney. Black and layered, with an interesting use of textures such as fur, there was a distinctly dystopian, futuristic feeling behind the garments. The collection was intersected by womenswear designer Loko Yu who had worked along the same idea, but with more sculpted looks of large, powerful shoulders in bomber jacket-style silhouettes, using PVC and beading for texture — all topped off with dark, machine-like jewellery designs by Claire Pugh.
Following this was another futuristic collection by Isabell Yalda Hellysaz, which took on a cleaner-cut, whitewash stance on the future with minimal ideas and masculine shapes that reminded me of fencing outfits.
The Creative Director of LCF wrote about the students learning that they were challenged: “to look inwards and search for themselves. All their feelings, thoughts and visions are incorporated into their designs and reflect their identities and dreams.” As the collections were revealed, ideas of identity and looking to the future – with the endless opportunities of both – was strongly felt throughout.
The colour-popping collection by Elly Cheng bravely delved into ideas of childhood with bright baby pink and blue pastels in delicious textures. Inspired by the Japanese punk-rock subculture, the collection took influence from her mother and grandmother whose style and maternal influence have clearly had a lasting effect.
Sebastian Pieter Groenen won Collection of the Year, the first menswear collection to do so, with his unique take on men’s tailoring. It included half-suits mixed with mesh-draped panels which had a sporty feel about them in a vibrant palette of pink, green and blue.
Other awards went to Fashion Design Technology: womenswear designer Ashleigh Downer, whose stunningly beautiful collection used intricate and unusual detailing on layered dresses, won the Trimmings Award. Amazingly, in the name of sustainable fashion, she had grown the trimmings herself. Rose Irwin, Diana Auria Harris and Lili Colley collectively won the Fashion Innovation award for their bright and unusual designs.
Main trends that stood out were see-through rain macs, orange colour detailing and bomber jacket shapes. All of the collections were strong with a wide range of influences and specialities. It was brilliant to see so many new and fresh designs in an industry saturated by fast-paced fashion. There was a real feeling that all of the designers have so much ahead of them: it will be exciting to see which direction they decided to go in next.