The annual showcase put on by second-year MA Fashion students under the guidance of Professor Louise Wilson closed the first day of London Fashion Week at Somerset House. The program is the only one of its kind to occupy an official runway timeslot; graduates like Alexander McQueen and Mary Katrantzou have gone on to establish their own labels and lead existing fashion brands. Here are our top seven designers, who presented their collections to the tune of thumping techno music in front of a packed house. Stay tuned for more after-show coverage and interviews.
 Eilish Macintosh – Textiles

Recipient of the L’Oreal Professionnel Creative Award, presented to her by alumni Christopher Kane, Macintosh wove magic into her fancy rope work. Her first collection opened the show and featured intricate white roping, knotted and looped across the models to form harnesses, headgear, and neckpieces. The bondage-lite theme continued into her second collection, made up of sporty latex separates trimmed with the same white rope, this time reminiscent of tangled telephone cords. Jaimee Mckenna – Knitwear

Pleat heaven. Mckenna’s blue monochrome dresses and separates were incredibly striking as they bounced down the runway. The former Mark Fast freelancer rendered her pleats in unexpected ways – think herringbone and diamond. Half cosy jumper, half oversized evening gown, all fabulous. Hwan Park – Menswear

Park’s series of pared-down alabaster separates were all swathed in sheer silk chiffon-like veils from the neck down. Interesting juxtaposition of the structured, almost stiff garments underneath the floaty, light-as-air top layers. Elena Crehan – Textiles

Like molting birds, Moon’s models donned oversized jumpers-cum-dresses made of patchworked faux (we think) fur and sheer lace panels. With fur peeking out from under intricate lacework and over fishnets, the effect was distinctly avian and left us curious for more. Nayoung Moon- Womenswear

In grey monochrome and dusty rose, Crehan’s elegant, layered lineup included long, fluid, jersey-like layers atop genie pants and full skirts. What distinguished each look were the playful graphic shapes that adorned each, which emphasized the angularity of the models. Rachel Hewitt – Womenswear

A play on proportions was on display here, with separates showing exaggerated hips, shoulders, and hems. In black and blue sateen, Hewitt’s knots, gathers, and origami-like folds stretched our imaginations on where the line between fabric and paper blur. Sadie Williams – Textiles

Williams’ futuristic and structured gowns literally lit up the room, like wearable Christmas ornaments. Although the models walked a tad more rigidly than usual, likely due to the padded, foil-effect fabric used, the festive mood put on by these gowns more than made up. As the lights dimmed on her final look, the lady seated next to us whispered to her companion, “That one’s a star.” We couldn’t agree more.   Toma Stenko – Womenswear

Complex, layered shapes comprised Stenko’s visually stunning collection of evening gowns that started out in subdued navy and brown, then turned bright goldenrod and teal. Stenko’s was an exercise in shape and contortion, with amorphous puzzle pieces protruding from each garment. At some turns they jutted out sharply from the model’s body, and at others they melded seamlessly back into their natural contours. http://vimeo.com/59770504

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