If anything the power cut just before the last student’s work only added to the air of desolation running through BA16, the London College of Fashion’s graduate show. Styled and directed by LCF’s Creative Director, Rob Phillips, the catwalk featured 17 collections from students across the college’s many disciplines so that a single look on the catwalk could contain work from Fashion Design Technology, from Product Design and Innovation and from Bespoke Tailoring.
Watching the show in a derelict warehouse in East London’s Blossom Street, I realised that there were common motifs running through the show. Complex drapery was one, raw edging another, distended silhouettes and masking were yet another. The result was that, despite the evident variety, eclecticism, diversity and talent, models looked like characters that inhabited a single, devastated world in which society was organised into sects.
Or as LCF Digital put it in a succinct tweet: ‘Fab-tastic #dystopian #future #wear at last night’s #LCFBA16 well done to all’.
Here are my favourites (my titles, not theirs) – and since the lookbook images were so cool, I’ve added some of those (photographer James Rees, creative direction Rob Phillips).
The Scavenger: Joseph Standish
‘Creating characters that I felt were more real: drinking beer, eating takeaways and bad tattoos feel more humanised to me than a multi-coloured dress – it’s more encompassing,” he further notes of his influences.’ (clashmusic.com)
The Street Fighter: Sam Thompson, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear; Emma Han, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery; George Oxby, BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear
‘It was really more of a visual, than a conceptual starting point. I kept noticing how people's attitudes were reflected in how they wore their clothes. The way that they were standing and the position of their bodies affected the shape of the garment. As a designer you often think like this – of conforming and fitting the garment to the body, but I decided that it would be interesting to imbue the clothes with a pre-defined attitude that the bodies wearing them would then have to conform to.’ (Wonderland Magazine)
The Soothsayer: Gayane Arzumanova, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear; Beth Wilson BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Embroidery; Yui Jiang, Ba (Hons) Fashion Jewellery.
‘My graduate collection has a strong textile influence – the shapes and silhouettes revealed from collages are exaggerated, with minimal details. I have developed the illusion of stone texture using leather melting techniques. My team and I have achieved the creation of a transient moment, and the illusion of thickness and softness.’ (blogs.arts.ac.uk)
The Nurses: Zaiga Brutane, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear; Joseph Mangan BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation; Tsun Cheung Lai, BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring; Caroline Klemp, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear.
Tsun Cheung Lai: ’My work is a mixture of traditional tailoring and contemporary menswear. I wanted to challenge the traditional concept of bespoke tailoring by exploring new and surprising techniques and by using untraditional fabric. I also used sail making techniques in my work.’
The Monk: Andrew Ko, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development.
The Courtesan: Jaewon Sophie Kim, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development; Fotini Handra, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear; Sarah Forgie, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print.
The High Priestess: Hanni Yang, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear; Qingqing Yu, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear; Shaila Irfan, BA (Hons) Fashion Jewellery.