First thing Monday morning, the London Ethnic team were ready to spot some talent. Armed with an SLR, a notepad and a keen eye, we selected only handful of favourites in each show.
The first catwalk show we attended was the International Show, which showcased the cream of the crop of Graduates from design schools around the World. The show proved that international fashion has taken leaps within the last few decades. It has defied the Chanel-infused traditions of simplicity and has broken boundaries.
Connie Riisker Berge of Esmod Oslo crowned her models with entangled circular fascinators and soft, Russian-like bobbled hats. Risker Berge opted for natural beige and monochrome colours, focusing her collection more on unusual shapes, pleats and structures.
Michael Maiello of Italy paired his models in complementary male/female couples, each with a different theme. From checks, to flower-spotted sheer materials, he introduces an appealing way of blending gender-neutral fashions.
I got an awful cramp in my leg bopping up and down to take photographs in the next catwalk show. UCA Rochester’s designers, according to the official GFW blog, had a heavy emphasis on cut. I would agree, but would also suggest that many of the designers used particular themes to emphasize the focal point of their collections; the use of masks, ragdolls, and rabbit motifs suggest a beautifully haunting childlike stimulus. 3 graduates in particular stood out to us.
I was entranced by Emma Star’s use of heavy embellishment merged impeccably with 60s clothing layered in pastel colours. The use of baby blues and pinks were given a tougher edge with metallic, bejewelled oversized jackets and gilets. The baby-doll, petticoat-like dress and the all-over embellished play suit especially won me over.
Lara Waghorn, according to the GFW blog, had been inspired by a recent trip to Marrakech. Having noticed the evident ethnic theme, I sat up to look closer at the matching sets of crop tops and high-waisted skirts with repeated print rooted in the intermingled dark blues and browns. Simple, exotic and yet entirely sumptuous.
Fiona Harrison brought the workforce to the catwalk with her collection of smart and sophisticated attire, brought to life with luminous colours and uncomplicated fabrics. Harrison brings a collection that appeals to the fashion-conscious New York socialite merged with the workwoman who buys from Zara.
And last but most certainly not least, Nottingham Trent’s show, where we were lucky enough to be front row. XFM have claimed that ‘Nottingham is on fire right now’, and I agree. The talent in this particular show was undeniable. Just when you thought it was great, it got greater.
Adnan Ebo’s choice of background music most certainly caught my attention right before the models stepped onto the catwalk. The raw energy of Kanye West’s ‘No Church in the Wild’ brought an interesting change to the typical booming music I’d heard all day. His taste in music mirrored his unique menswear collection: fitted suits in burgundy and navy, and a slight influence of what I can only guess is pre-19th century artworks printed on long jackets and a particularly remarkable sweater.
Vanina Yankova’s bright pastels and winged sunglasses brought the childlike theme (once again) into the spotlight, this time through knitwear. The chromatically crowded patterns that are sewed on to the creations juxtapose beautifully against the femininity of the fitted dresses.
Adjectives are not quite enough to describe Nga Ying Law’s collection. It appears to be minimal, and yet each piece has an edge. Pinstripes combined with overtly large chess board motifs, brought to life by streaks of red shades. The clothes suit the workforce, and additionally gives the wearer a vixen-like empowerment.
Despite childlike influence creeping its way into prominence with bright pinks and blues and youth-inspired motifs, I found myself drawn fully to the shameless glamour of Valentino’s womanly reds in Kelly Walker’s collection. The clothes are reminiscent of old-school glamour, with a hint of leather to bring a modern appeal. The waving red material that flowed by like an authoritative undercurrent brought me to the edge of my seat. I was enthralled, and will most definitely be chasing Ms. Walker for one of her designs.
Stepping into that vast room full of these ambitious, gifted graduates was truly inspirational. Each day of GFW, the London Ethnic team were eager to not let any talent go unnoticed. Watch this space!