Access All Areas! Graduate Fashion Week

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Graduate show season is finally over. An epic three weeks bathed in the first tentative steps of warm summer weather echoed the efforts of the departing graduates. For budding designers, Graduate Fashion Week is their first taste of a real catwalk and fashion week environment- with all its attendant pressures, surprises and cliches in tow. Londnr was fortunate to gain an access all areas pass for the London College of Fashion Graduate Exhibition show, in the suitably ‘fashion’ location of a former warehouse on Shoreditch High Street. Steve Legget; overseer and architect behind the staging of the LCF grad show filled us in on some of the more interesting details behind the creation of the impressive show.

“This is the first time LCF has shown all its graduates under one roof- they used to do separate shows -so we needed a lot of space.” Walking through the cavernous building, two days before the grand opening night, it was clear just how much effort went in to make it the beautiful backdrop for LCF’s graduates. “There isn’t any electricity in this building, so we had to set that up… Jack the Ripper did some work in here and not much has changed since then.” Dark ceilings and cool cement floors were the perfect set up for the grimy juxtaposition between the old world of East London and the new and emerging talent on show.

As the book end to graduate fashion week, the LCF show was always destined to go out on a high and the iconic college didn’t disappoint. With celebrity guests Zawe Ashton and Diana Vickers watching on; the collaborative catwalk showcased looks from the combined talents and collections of LCF students- a first for the college. Tony Glenville, Creative Director at LCF champions this approach to fashion shows, “I think it worked fantastically well, I was really pleased with the talent and quality of design on show. Collaboration is the way forward in this industry and I think tonight’s catwalk really delivered that message.”

So what of the show itself? Mixed textures, prints and bold graphic colours were the order of the day. The show opened with a Mad Max take on knitwear by designer Natalie Ballout. Head pieces designed by Billie Pingault led models with a punk twist in charge of defining a new era. Orientalism was a recurring theme, with womenswear designer Bora Nam cladding models in delicate kimono-type gowns, falling off shoulders, ruched with silk obi-style detailing. The standout for Londnr was designer Catherine Wang- the frocks orbiting around the models like fantastical satellites combined with the graphic prints and pink, blue, purple and grey colours. This Martian March was irresistible.

The Fresh Meat actress Zawe Ashton, known for her edgy fashion choices both in and out of character was impressed – “I rarely go to shows or play the fashion game. I prefer to go to Graduate Fashion Week, to all these events where there is a chance to spot raw creativity and talent. It’s much more authentic and I have to say- I was blown away by the talent on show this evening.” It’s clear from the dearth of skills on display that the LCF Class of 2015 are ones to watch out for, further cementing their status as producers of some of the most promising arts and fashion graduates. Future stars have been set loose!

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