In the climatic show of the week we saw the very best of our graduates, carefully curated by our influential judges. The atmosphere in the room vibrated with heavy excitement and anticipation as students and fashion celebrities alike waited (and oh did we wait!) for the multitude of carefully considered creative designs that have defined Graduate Fashion Week 2016.
From Northumbria University we saw Katherine Leigh, who opened the show with a collection of boyfriend shirts mixed with beautiful tailoring giving her models a Peaky Blinders meet Victorian man about town kind of feeling. Roslyne Mcquillan also went back in time with Soviet style hinting at excess with metallic touches to fur coats and leather jackets, not forgetting the superb fur hats that perfectly finished off the look.
Caoimhe Savage, whose long nautical-esque coats with utility cords meshed with extreme headwear, represented Kingston University, along with Leanne Callon, who managed to make army grunge garments look feminine, with beautiful sweaters featuring hints of silk.
Nottingham Trent University prolifically spawned talent with several of their student’s designs featured in the best of GFW show. Chloe Jackson’s flamenco ruffles and bold graphics were displayed on mixed fabrics, with everything from plastic to fur, paired with Miu Miu style sunglasses. Kendall Baker took the crowd back to Marrakech using a radiant S/S colour scheme on embellished plastic that oozed creative crochet with a Middle Eastern beat. Charlotte Yates’s made Skiwear accessible using knitwear, fur and practical jumpsuits that made us want to book a flight to Verbier immediately. Finishing the magnificent show was Kelsey Lea, whose extreme army gear with draping cords in waterproof style fabric would make Christopher Raeburn proud.
Bath Spa’s first graduate, Alice Bayliss, clashed neon with chrome, giving the collection a space oddity vibe that made sports luxe even more relevant. Hayley Webber redefined bubble wrap with t-shirts and slip dresses doused in bold colours and jewel embossed jackets that screamed luxury. Abbey Johnson recreated jeans by stitching in floral embellishment, making daywear you can’t go wrong with.
The kids were definitely all right at Arts University Bournemouth’s very own Elizabeth Layte’s wonderfully cute, storybook styled collection for children. George Hollins customized with lace using careful craftsmanship that shone through on all of the designs.
Hazel Symons from De Montfort University blew the crowd away with her reinvention of classical fashion design, screwing all the clothes together rather than sewing them, plus the clothes themselves were pretty darn good too. Holly Borg represented DIY at it’s best with her scribbled on pieces in highlighter tones that had us flashbacking in horror to exam prep.
The University of Salford’s Carl Tom made pinstripe tailoring with a hint of street wear, that involved eye catching illustrated robes and beautiful draping trousers. Kiran Fathima Ayub brought Iranian style onto the Western catwalk, using a colour blocked collection of deep French marine that was effortlessly glamorous.
From University for the Creative Arts Epsom we saw Bareia Ahmad, who’s genius clash of tartan meeting Middle Eastern pattern and cut, with headscarves, harem pants and sarongs. Ramlah Wraich took the audience on a carnival of spectacular proportions, featuring Cat In The Hat stripes and padding in all the wrong (but very, very right!) places, and even a circus show spectacle. Quivvei Jiang printed clothing with 40s style designs and sumptuous fur finishes.
Sofia Clarke from Birmingham City University appeared to be inspired by the adventurer in all of us, using natural references and an eclectic mix of heavy fabrics covering every in of the model a la Craig Green. Rhys Ellis’s stunning old-fashioned style sleeves and necklines with contemporary hemlines made entirely out of metal were utterly unique. Feiyve Ma used a red, white and blue colour palette that was trickled into her truly fabulous accessories, which included plastic wigs, latex boots and diva approved glasses, embodying a walking abstract art piece.
From Edinburgh College of Art, Matilda Barrowcliff marched an intricate threadwork collection down the catwalk to other worldly music, transforming the models into canvas-draped artworks. Jonathan Preston Moore created pop art street wear consisting of printed baseball jackets with extreme design prints.
Riding solo for University of Northampton was Madia Boshon, who’s indian inspired fabrics featured a signature Krishna figure on contemporary Western designs that maintained the essence of traditional Indian designs.
The unprecedented talent of the Graduates this year was abundantly clear at this electric final show. With everyone from Susie Lau to Gareth Pugh heading up the front row, the buzz around this year’s collections is certainly worthy of our 25th anniversary title.