Shredded paper hats, fluffy bags and travelling around the world in 8 graphic prints: the first LCF MA show filled us with hope for the future of fashion.
Twelve London College of Fashion students selected by David Hellqvist, Daryoush Haj-Najafi and Becc Gray showed their collections at the first LC:M show by the university. Held in the cinematic hall of the Former Welsh Chapel, the intimate show kicked off with an equally dramatic soundtrack and a hundred pairs of industry eyes waited to see what the next generation of designers had to offer.
The show began with Kitty Ng’s crochet couture. Sweeping out behind the model like a peacock’s plume the star piece juxtaposed the delicate material and structure with a bold and consuming train. Not that a peacock would be wearing wet-look trousers or a shredded paper headpiece. The rest of collection generally followed suit with variations on colour and length, including a marbled sea-green version we could imagine easing its way into plenty of wardrobes.
KA KUI CHENG
Cheng left us humming ‘God Save the Queen’. First on the catwalk were shorts and a jacket with our monarch looking pretty adorable in cartoon form. We were than transported to the US with sportswear featuring Marilyn Monroe, Paris had a pink fleur de lys pattern and the sad but sweet faces of Pandas on China’s joggers. A charming and fun theme, Cheng managed to retain a luxe edge, pairing the sportswear pieces with fully buttoned shirts under zip-up jackets.
EMMA FENTON VILLAR
Frayed perfection came from Emma Fenton Villar, not a single string was out of place. Bleached touches added a distressed feel to half of the line and other pieces like the denim mac with a metallic underside were sharper and smarter. The cool colour palette seemed like a futuristic uniform and thick white rubber boots teamed with slick side partings on the models created a clinical mood, the opposite of how we often consider denim, the focus material of the collection.
Earthy tones, oversized knits and loose culottes from Gebei He’s breathed an air of nature into the show. Simultaneously the fluidity of the lines made an alien shape on the models, accentuated in a grey knit which made the arms to appear to shoot straight out of the chest. Playing with the thickness and texture of the knits made pieces seem alive and flowing despite a slightly muted colour palette in comparison to other students.
YOUNG HWAN YANG
Tribal faces on neoprene jumpers with intimidating rounded shoulders were matched with layered skirts of leather strips like a far more chic take on everyone’s favourite piece of fancy dress – the hula skirt. It wasn’t quite beachwear but it felt like summer with saturated colours, shorts and leather fringe laced into white shoes that turned feet into flippers.
A different take on black tie, the stark contrast between creamy white and black added formality to the loose shapes in Wang’s work. From the high necklines to the models’ toes, hardly an inch of skin was on show. The sharpest of the group, Wang needed no embellishments to generate hype.
ROBERTO ANTONIO SLUSARZ FILHO
It’s hard to place Slusarz’s designs in a specific category or infer any particular influences, this tunic could be worn by Russian Tsars or Middle-Eastern princes. The tiger-stripe lightening slashes lined in neon seem to suggest that if you scratch the surface, beneath these traditional tapestry patterns the next generation is ready and waiting with shining embroidery. Colour block jackets with coloured lapels also seemed to hint at a cool, calm and collected outside and a party on the inside, waiting to burst out.
JASMINE HAOYAO DENG
Safari hats topped with mohicans completed looks made up of aztec sweaters with necks as high as tribal necklaces and loose crêpe de Chine trousers that were pyjama-esque in a wonderful way. The use of Adidas ‘Gazelles’ added to the sense of activity and adventure. The eye-catching use of colour is what stopped Deng’s collection from slipping into a bohemian zone and kept it young and fresh.
THIEN TRANG BUI
Icy blue and pale grey co-ords with floral overlays is as feminine as it sounds but Thien Trang Bui choice of simple shapes kept the pieces very much within the realms of menswear. Classic garments are softly and subtly nudged into luxury with the use of lace and silk but the unstructured tailoring adds wearability.
Drapes and soft pleats wriggled in a hypnotic way as the models took Su’s work to the runway. With near ankle-drop trousers cocooning their legs the models seemed to float along and that redefinition of shape appeared to be the focus, with asymmetric lapels and barely-there collars as well as unconventional and awkward lengths.
We must convince confess that when it comes to anything furry or fluffy, we’re like magpies and shiny things, so it’s not surprise Jun Zhou is one of our favourites from the whole show. Tactile and super-cute fluffy backpacks aside, the collection was simple, dynamic and confident in its use of bright colour. Oversized fits in thick and textured materials created bulked out silhouettes. The light shine on the yellow jacket made it seem like a chic and playful update of a classic fisherman’s mac.
Left with the considerable responsibility of closing the show, Na Lio brought us rosette headpieces and ghostly veils. A contrast between isolation and inclusion, some looks had a focal point, for example white gloves and handkerchiefs dangling from breast pockets, whilst others were all-consuming, such as navy blazers with no cuffs, just continuing into gloves – the first look of the line didn’t even have arms. It was a suitably dramatic and creative mood to end the show on as a final and lasting memory.
Photographer: Roger Dean
Words: Lily Walker