Wow wow wow! Graduate Fashion Week is always a highlight for those fans of creativity among us – but this year, our eyes were really blown away by the amazingly high standard and general explosion of brilliance that met them from the catwalk! Obviously, each college has been displaying their best graduates’ work all week but last night was the Gala show – where the best of the best compete for prizes in various categories they all hope will give them that extra edge when it comes to getting a job in the tough, competitive world of fashion design this coming autumn.
The prestigious Gold Award went to Chloe Jones, of Bath Spa University, who presented an amazing collection of floaty chiffon beautifully cut full-length skirts with chiffon parkas and chunky layered hoodies. ‘Very ethereal' in the words of Daphne Guinness – we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
The International Award went to Karen Jessen of ESMOD Berlin whose plaited, knotted rainbow-graded formal dresses and outwear delighted the audience. The Stuart Peters Knitwear Award (and British designers are renowned for knitwear) went to two graduates Caitlin Charles Jones of Kingston University & Jouisanne Propp, of the University of Manchester – because the judges simply couldn’t bear to choose between them!
The Zandra Rhodes Textiles - Xiaoping Huang, UCLAN who created some truly truly stunning accordion-type sculptured outfits in an appropirate riot of primary colour.
Legendary catwalk photographer and stalwart of many many years of fashion shows, Christopher Moore received a Lifetime Achievement Award to a standing ovation – well deserved Mr Moore!
Other collections we wholeheartedly admired included Claire Acton, whose surreal womenswear featuring dresses printed with faces layered under bright jackets forming ‘hair’ – a very clever take on fringing – and one that Elsa Schiaparelli would have been proud of! And a particularly bonkers collection of outerwear from James Walker whose headline-grabbing attire included dresses combined with luggage and other objects. Well, it wouldn’t be Graduate Fashion Week without at least one dress made out of an accordion! The difference this year was even the showpieces, although not necessarily wearable – all looked impeccably constructed and finished to a brilliantly high standard. Bravo one and all!
Other prizes went to...
Fashion Innovation - Ami Collins, UCLAN
David Band Textiles - Emma Hardstaff, Edinburgh College of Art
Ethical Award - Sarah Murphy, Northumbria University
Per Aquum Marketing - Hayley Oldfield, UCLAN
Karen Millen - Jouisianne Propp, University of Manchester
Mulberry Accessories Award - Laura Smallwood, University of Kingston
Barclays New Business Idea Award - Holly Reid, UCLAN
Stand Award - Edinburgh College of Art
Best of British (George) - Susanna Yi, University of East London
Childrenswear Award - Harriet Simons, Colchester School of Art
Media & Design Award - Kerrie Donovan, UCA Epsom