Key words that were overheard among the crowd after last night’s BA Fashion press show: ‘sparkle! sparkle!’, ‘a lot of Galliano…’, ‘- raw beauty!’. A show opened by Matthew Harding, attended by Grayson Perry, accompanied by tropical rain pissing down, and ultimately closed with a moving speech from Jeremy Till announcing the formation of the Louise Wilson Fund. Fashion Design class of 2014, you dazzled the crowd (with all that glitter) and we are proud of everyone who has soldiered on these past few months. From all of the final years to the army of first and second year helpers, tutors and seamstresses- we admire your dedication to each and every garment. We know there were a lot of setbacks, new wrinkles (and a few premature grey hairs), bleeding fingers and hysterics, but IT’S OVER; YOU CAN SLEEP! Or, more realistically… start looking for a job. Here’s a look backstage!
Gracie Wales-Bonner (Fashion Design with Marketing) won the first prize in the L’Oreal competition with her laidback take on Chanel tweed, rope sandals, dark denim with ruffled edges, straw hats, and colorful stones. King of Overlocking, Asai Andrew Ta (Womenswear), won 2nd place with his mad cowboy boots, and meters of raw, ragged fabrics that moved furiously as models stormed down the runway. Energy was key, and Fiona O’Neill (Womenswear), 3rd prize winner, put that right into place with bold paintstrokes on sculptural garments (and a wet look we’re able to empathise with, given the dodgy weather).
The rain also seems to have poured into our system, as we can’t put up all images up due to technical failure. Until it’s fixed, you can view them here.
What do you think is the best show soundtrack?
What I like about this show particularly is the variety, because in one minute you can have some hardcore electro and then you get a kind of French chanson tune, then something cheesy – it’s the whole mixture. There once was a disco version of a show tune, it was brilliant. I think the students agonize for three years over their soundtrack. I’m not that fond of the unstructured modern synth-type ones you get, because you get these unstructured modern clothes that come with it; I’m a maximalist.
Are you looking forward to maximalism in this show?
Yeah, I like to be surprised and in one minute you get amazing glamour and sophistication, and the next minute you get a laugh. The mixture makes it such a great event.
Imran Ahmed (BoF)
What are you looking forward to this year?
I’m looking for what I always look for: raw creativity with long-term potential. That’s what I’m most interested in, and what Saint Martins does so well, is that it helps to cultivate the signature voice of a designer. There’s so much copying and referencing and imitating that goes on in the fashion industry; the strongest thing that you can do as a student is to define your specific voice.
Are you a fan of sparkle and glitter?
A little sparkle can never hurt, as long as it’s not for getting attention – it needs to have some aesthetic purpose to it.
What’s your favourite show soundtrack?
Michel Gaubert has been doing these soundtracks for Nicolas Ghesquière at both his first Louis Vuitton collection in Paris and the most recent collection in Monaco – they had the most amazing soundtracks. I think they both had Robyn on them and Kelis.
Alexander Fury (The Independent)
First reaction after the show?
I liked a lot in it. It’s interesting to see young talent at this point, because before [this year] they really formed these designers, I think. It’s interesting, particularly with the formation of the trust for Louise, because I know that Louise was actually talking about Foundation courses a lot, because that’s where you’ll need to get them. It would be interesting to see if many of those designers do go on and develop themselves and either do MA courses or apply for a job and go into the industry.
You saw a lot of ‘fancy’ here, and I thought that it was quite interesting to be able to see people indulge themselves and that there doesn’t have to be a commercial reality to it. I almost feel it’s unfair to judge them as collections, because they’re not really collections – they’re sort of propositions. They’re proposals for the designers that they are going to become. I think it should be looked at like that. It’s the promise of things to come; it’s the promise of different ideas and it remains to be seen whether they will go on and do something under their own name or go and work with other designers; develop textiles, you know. This is the interesting first step. It shouldn’t be the end point, it’s the beginning and that’s what Louise felt as well. They shouldn’t stop here, they should go on, this is their first step into the industry – it shouldn’t be their first leap into the industry.