New Designers: NUA Graduates at Graduate Fashion Week – Part Two
Welcome back, folks!
I know you’ve all been dying (or at least, you know, feeling a bit under the weather) with suspense since you read Part One of this showcase of the finest of our Fine City’s new designers at Graduate Fashion Week.
Graduate Fashion Week took place last month at Truman Brewery in London and I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Graduate Fashion Show from Norwich University of the Arts, during which I think I actually redefined the phrase ‘on the edge of my seat’- I believe the laws of physics were defied.
So without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, here comes another delicious dose of brand new, hot-off-the-cutting-table fashion…
In Part One I mentioned a recurring theme of interesting ties and fastenings. Daina Eicate utilised this same trend in a very interesting way. For starters, I’m always a fan of cords and ropes as decorative details. Secondly, cords and ropes which pull and cinch garments into variable silhouettes are guaranteed to to get my attention (I’m a utility girl at heart!) Thirdly- Eicate is a genius with mixing fabrics. Some of the pieces looked to be made up in what was almost a herringbone, while in contrast, is that jumpsuit on the right in some sort of parachute fabric…? And yet they all work together in some amazing, cohesive way. I enjoy this. A lot.
With a name like Hamish Devereux-Batchelor, you really can’t do anything else in life but become a fashion designer. One of the few NUA graduates to produce a menswear collection, H D-B mixed masculine heritage fabrics – check out that navy pinstripe on the end- with modern and streetwear-inspired silhouettes. Give me a tweed-and-harem-pant-combo any day! He also managed to get the NUA Dean of Media to walk for him- which means definite kudos.
Madara Rozensteina brought out one of my absolute favourite collections from the whole show.
Beautiful layering, beautiful silhouettes and an even more beautiful colour palette; sorbet shades of raspberry and pistachio. As with several other designers on the day, some very clever pattern-cutting was going on here, to create those fluid, undulating swathes and pleats of fabric. We also have modern fabrics, like this perforated neoprene jacket punctuated with traditional beading embellishment techniques; a perfect study in contrasts. I’d say Rozensteina is definitely one to watch.
Also I want that jacket.
One of the few truly maximalist collections in the show, Emma Wang brought us pretty much everything- lace, brocade, tartan, ruffles, drop-waists, peplums, something that might even be broderie anglaise… But all sensibly and maturely limited to a colour palette of navys, blacks and bronze. This is a brave collection in a lot of ways, with so much lace and texture going on it would have been easy to start looking a bit frou-frou, but the collection is self-contained, even sexy. Wang also put out some of the most truly beautiful and feminine pieces of the whole show- her lace dresses would not be out of place on the catwalk at Valentino.
Christina Mitropoulu was another designer to mix her fabrics very effectively. The collection captivated us with a riot of colour and texture. However, the sportswear-inspired line and detailing prevent this collection from being truly maximalist. There’s only so far you can go when fuchsia fur is involved before it gets a bit awkward- and Mitropoulu has walked the line admirably. The lime and aubergine combination also is truly luscious- and you can never go wrong with a spangly sock in my book.
We return again to the layering trend that permeated NUAs collections. The comic prints that Nikk Stanley has used here belie the clever pattern-cutting required to produce those perfectly asymmetric hems and statement lapels which seem to grow from the jacket lining… Also this designer has some serious skill at matching his prints at the seams. Stanley has kept the collection to a limited colour palette, which prevents visual overload.
My summary? Manga hero meets Spongebob meets couture… I like it!
Finally, I bring you to what was, for me, the star collection of the show. Alice Potts has created what can only be described as a feat of mathematical genius, producing whole garments from smaller, tessellating shapes.
I loved everything about this. The balance, the lines, the colours, the fact that she has produced whole garments from tessellating shapes- did I mention that?
I don’t even really know how to write about this collection because there isn’t a book on pattern-cutting in the world that will tell you how to make a garment from what is effectively a series of puzzle pieces. Potts has created something truly original.
This is the bit in the middle of one of those Venn diagrams you used to draw in school where the circle denoting ‘fashion’ overlaps with the circle denoting ‘sculpture’ and the circle denoting ‘architecture’ to create this totally new thing that you didn’t even know existed because it didn’t, actually, not until now…
And as if that wasn’t enough, she brought us light-up footwear. I mean come on, people!
It was such a privilege to be able to view the work of these designers right at the beginning of their fashion careers- I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them all.
Remember, though, when you’re coveting the Rozensteina Spring Collection, or reading about Alexa and Kate in the latest Emma Wang- they started in #Norwich folks!