Following a patriotic Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) 2012 with a runway backdrop of the Union Jack, GFW 2013 went for the classic monochrome look with a super shiny black reflective runway and a chorus line of black and white tailors mannequins on stage. In the centre of the runway, hazy beams of light shone down forming a circle.
These rays of light were the perfect setting for the winning collection of the International Show Award as they shone on to Angus Chiang’s (Shish Chien University Taiwan) futuristic collection of space suits ready to beam them up. The space suits ranged from the practical and wearable black aviation style jumpsuits to the outrageous and show stopping astronaut suit covered in colourful fabric carnations – maybe saying it with flowers is the universal language for that alien encounter.
Keeping with the bright colour theme was the winner of the Zandra Rhodes Textile Award – Kirandeep Bassan from Northampton University. The main colour palette was of just three bright colours (orange, blue and yellow) but variations of shades gave depth and the illusion of many more. Prints were everywhere right down to the high wedge clogs. Texture was key as though the prints were exposing numerous layers of paint and brush strokes under a peeling surface. Larger and smoother colour blocks became the canvas for contrasting shapes of circles and panels.
Texture was also key with the winner of the Stuart Peters Knitwear Award – Thea Saunders of Nottingham Trent University. Patterns clashed wonderfully together ranging from period, classic and contemporary. Yellow woollen shag pile adorned chunky cable short jackets like swirling gold baroque embroidery, whilst multi coloured shag piles created an unfinished tapestry effect on a slimmer digital patterned jumper. Straight skirts and dresses knitted in an abstract and coloured take on the classic houndstooth were worn with jumpers in futuristic computer grid patterns.
Womenswear winner Hannah Williams of UCA Epsom went for minimalism in pale pastels and neutrals. Latex fabrics, frayed hems and simple loose cuts gave the collection a simplistic first impression. But on closer inspection these shapes were like rubber casts ready to create another style as tactile trompe l’oeil brought a subtle 3D dimensional outline of lady like jackets with strings of pearls and an oversized zip fronted dress.
Menswear Award went to Shauni Douglas with accessories by Olivia Creber, both from Edinburgh College of Art. Olivia’s false beards - surely the next must have sartorial accessory - certainly caught the eye as held in place by a mouthpiece, they bounced and swished as the model moved. The collection itself was a mix of Western tailoring and Middle Eastern layering of long tailored shirts to the knees and longer worn with shorter tops and coats. Prints were of oversized digital tartans and smaller checks alongside the richer tartans and geometric diamond patterns
The prestigious George Gold award plus £20,000 prize money went to Lauren Smith of Edinburgh College of Art. Air bubble designs, appliqué doodles, oversized coloured paper clips on exaggerated A line tunics with patch pockets, coloured metal eyelets and coloured thread trimmings and wide bell sleeves gave a feeling of childlike innocence and dreams. Tulle mid calf skirts in neon yellow and pale blue added a light hearted flirty touch to this feminine collection.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Hilary Alexander went to Suzy Menkes fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.
By Karen GracePersonal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky http://www.frumpytofunky.com