Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Degree Show Report 3: Central Saint Martins (Fashion & Jewellery Design)

And so to our final UAL Summer Show, at Central Saint Martins... Revived by a quick coffee on the train over from Chelsea (well, Vauxhall), we arrived with just enough time to spare to elbow our way through, seemingly, the entire population of North London, whilst checking out the fruits of the fashion and jewellery design grads' labour before the exhibition closed.

Fashion: Womenswear

The womenswear display was pretty epic, no way round it. Structure (well, perhaps "scaffolding" might be a more fitting term), layering and deconstruction were the watchwords of the collections, and, whilst I couldn't help but adore the drama (teetering on that borderline with the theatrical to which I am such a recurrent visitor myself) of standout pieces such as that red dress a couple of shots down, I also fell for the quieter charms of the - equally innovative - deconstructed pieces (beige can never again be accused of blandness), given added impact by some very canny layering with contrasting pieces.

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Fashion: Menswear

In terms of the pieces themselves, I was equally impressed by the menswear collections - lots of exciting boundary-pushing going on, whilst the temptation to simply "run riot" without due thought and attention was skilfully avoided. However, I was a little saddened that they were given so much less "airtime" than the womenswear collections - no mannequins or complete looks on show, just lots of rails... Which made photography, as well as gaining a full appreciation of each student's collection, pretty tricky...

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Fashion: Graduate Diploma

Although this was a much smaller showcase than that of the BA students, some of my favourite pieces were tucked away in this little collection... So innovative... well, would you have thought of doing that with a silver pipe?

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Jewellery Design

This was a real treat. I am a sucker for a statement accessory, and you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger statement than the ones made in this room... headdresses, harnesses, full-face pieces, even full-body pieces... #betterthanTiffany.

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Degree Show Report 2: Chelsea College of Arts (Textile Design)

Next stop on the grand art school grad show tour was Chelsea College of Arts, where four floors of textile-based goodness awaited... With its incredible diversity of exhibits (from lampshades through to sensory aids for the visually impaired), and mini installations accompanying each student's collection, this was far more than "just" a fashion show, although it was packed to the rafters with clothes whose designers any stylist worth their salt would be earmarking...

Barring a few notable exceptions (Vanessa-Lee Hamlett's punk-inspired streetwear collection being one of my personal favourites), a thread of playful references to femininity ran through the Chelsea collections as a whole, nodding to both past and future in a whirl of translucent fabrics, trippy prints, candy colours and ostentatious ornamentation. I L.O.V.E. Oh, and we were greeted at the college's entrance by a live mermaid.

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Gemma Keith

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One more stop to go...

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