Filling the runway with everything from billowing loose bonnets to space suits, the LCF graduate students made a fresh mark on the fashion scene with imaginative, retro designs.

Nine London College of Fashion students showed us their collections at this season’s LCFMA17 show, styled by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen, who worked closely with the students to bring their visions to life. Held at St John Smith Square, the baroque church made for a dramatic setting, matched by a continuous stream of live classical piano pieces – Mozart’s ‘Rondo Alla Turca’ adds a real flavour to the sashay of suits on the runway. Seriously atmosphere.

Soo Jin Cho (left)

The show opened with a flair of romanticism as the audience took in the Cho’s unconventional coat turned headpiece, intricately pleated ensembles. Black and white silks encircled the model’s faces like nun habit veils, tying delicately under the chin, making for striking silhouettes.

Changxi Shao (right)

The room almost seemed to chill a few degrees when Shao gave us a taste of space with these flamboyant, neon, Final Frontier suits. Hoods, helmets, heavy puffer parkas with hundreds of pockets and drawstrings, and shiny rucksacks, feeling almost like the models had parachuted straight onto the runway. The key was heavy details and functionality.

Jooin Yang (left)

Yang’s collection felt a little like an elegant fashion magic trick. The look was minimalist and tailored with a detailed cut. The collection featured oversized, heavy layering with soothing combinations of cobalt blues, blacks and greys. The first model demonstrated the versatility of the design, transforming before our eyes: tweed coat turns tweed vest turns blue coat, drawing the viewer into the movement and physicality of the pieces.

Wentao Shi (right)

Shi’s collection felt centered around transparency and shadows (not to mention the designs were delightfully Mad Hatter-y.) A striking rainbow of billowing velvet suits and lazer cut organza adorned with ruffles and bonnets that looked a little like upturned tulips made for a 60’s sensation.

Shu Yao (left)

Focusing heavily on tailoring, Yao’s designs were all about the cut, featuring patterns of straight edges and lines. The unique, double sided papery silk Chinese fabric gave the garments a great deal of movement, almost a flowing, watery feel, giving us a sense of intimacy with the pieces.

Chang Zhang (right)

Reinterpreting the usage of classic gingham check patterns in menswear, Zhang used a wide spectrum of bright, heavily contrasted block colours (blues, oranges, purples, reds) for check squares large and small. The designer created a variety of shapes and forms, from fitted to oversized, highlighting extra wide collars and capping cuffs, bringing it all together through pattern.

Peng Tai (left)

Going for an earthy, rustic feel, Tai worked with all natural fabric: organic cotton with linen and wool. The neutral colour tones draw focus to the construction of the pieces, the raised, boxy shoulders and the thick, wide seams and distressed rips. Similar to the headwear in Shi’s collection, Tai crafted whispy tulip looking bonnet, creating an overall look with both statement and wearability.

Tak Lee (centre)

Lee’s collection was all about ambiguity. Using 3D pattern cutting and washing and dying fabric, Lee created a collection that was both vaguely military but still bohemian, with a green focal colour and oversize knits and light wash denim.

Zhenhao Guo (right)

True to form, the final act stands out as a highlight of the show. It was all about mod plastic. Think loose, plastic covered white and grey tweed coupled with smatterings of deep, lipstick red. Plastic, tubular shaped knots adorning vests, trench coats, neck-ties and even clear briefcases, giving off the faint impression of beautifully limp, half full balloon animals.

Elly Arden-Joly

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