The RCA Fashion Show 2012
The Royal College of Art’s graduate fashion show is one not to be missed: the graduates are future sartorial game changers, their annual show a performance of creativity and curiosity.
The cool exhibition hall of the RCA was welcome relief from the outside humidity and although the collections were not season specific, the prevalence of knit, shearling and longer hemlines had me briefly lusting for Autumn.
The show in its entirety was wonderful, yet the collections below stayed with me long after I returned outside into the city heat. Enjoy.
To a pumping soundtrack by MIA-like Misty Woodz, a troupe of neon clad hip-hop starlets pounded the catwalk; an explosion of irresistible so-bad-it’s good taste. Chunky gold neck chains encased in shirtfronts beat rhythmically against chests and the digital print of modern day neon psychedelia pulsed under the models’ stride. Elegant draping nodded to femininity, while the brushed wool oversized jackets felt stolen from the boyfriend’s wardrobe, never to return.
‘Holly Fulton on mute’ came to mind as Rachel Chan’s soft geometric knits glided down the runway. Refreshingly minimal in silhouette – shifts delicately punctuated by light layers – the soft yellows, mint greens and greys were a cool refinement of fashion’s current obsession with sickeningly sweet pastels. Panels of black and white flecked knit were intricately graphic on closer inspection; the pixelated stitch-pattern a wonderful example of the possibilities of digital knitting.
When I imagine future generations of uber-women smashing the proverbial glass ceiling, I see them in a city anti-uniform by Pieran Gong. Trompe de l’oeil collars and ties appeared artfully sculpted and moulded, stiff yet feminine in their undulation over the clavicle. Mists of colour graduating from neon brights to the purest of white striped these suited women. If this is her work attire, the blindingly bright digital prints in fluid drapes take her into the reverberating beat of night.
Trine Hav Christensen
Fast-forward to Planet Earth’s watery apocalypse: Trine Hav Christensen’s hedonistic mermaids emerge from a deep-sea rave. Shimmering creatures of the dark depths adorn the garment’s oily surface, edged in iridescent frills which ripple under the catwalk lights as if alive. Humankind’s past is referenced in time-faded pink gathers billowing lightly to the floor. The future life aquatic beckons.
The languid Halston-esque jumpsuits played a beautifully minor role in Rajinder Johal’s achingly chic collection. Against a fluid backdrop of navy and sky bright blue, the polished metallic sculpture adorning the garments played lead. An inspired collaboration with jeweller Danyi Zhu, the modernist graphic metal seemed to both anchor the silhouette and act as floating adornment. Cut to the final scene: the model’s last turn reveals a sinuous backless design. Understatement would be an overstatement.
If you can’t resist a wispy fascinator, look away now. Hannah Morgan’s architectural millinery is a cool middle finger at the pathetic fuchsia feather. As if sculpted by the hands of Zaha Hadid herself, the pure planes of dove grey and white carved aerodynamic over and around the head. Emulating feats of engineering – hulls of ships and fighter jets – the headwear seemed to creep shield-like over the body as the collection progressed, closing with full forearm armoury. Prepared for millinery battle.
An anthemic soundtrack of defiant ‘I don’t cares’ signaled a collection celebrating all things feminine-powerful. A seventies pairing of browns and yellows reminded us of times less equal, with bursts of red defining the new sexuality. Stitching crept and twisted across leather panels in jackets and bustiers, brown on white like subverted rock formations: this woman is solid as stone. Sportswear shapes rebelled valiantly against the climax of pinks while the peeping white bustiers referenced Wonder Woman: Ryan Mercer nailed the new sexy.
Never has silk looked so fluid, as if it would slip through your fingers at the lightest of touches. Modern-day Ophelia’s glided past a captured audience, iridescent chiffon layers curling in a smoky billowing haze in their wake. Androgynous tailoring in the form of pristine shirt collars and impossibly elegant palazzo pants anchored the sartorial dream. Entire shimmering garments were gradually reduced to dense panels of iridescence, interrupting an ever-darkening palette to a near black finish. Truly mesmerizing.
- Natasha Slee