I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Northumbria end of year show at the Baltic a few weeks back, which totally blew me away – you could literally put a lot of these outfits on a Dior or Kenzo catwalk and not know the difference. The great venue, pre show fizz and canapes and the front row seat (next to the Vice-Chancellor somehow) all made for a fantastic show. He told me that the London Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) show was even bigger and better, which I struggled to fathom until I walked into Theatre A in the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane last Saturday afternoon. This was a catwalk show! The lights, photographers assembled at the end of the runway behind the VIPs (including my new friend the VC), the sheer amount of spectators meant that this was serious business. I knew that some buyers/recruiters were at the Baltic but far more prefer to watch the shows in London, for obvious reasons.
The Baltic show was great to get some really close up shots of the level of detail that the Graduates had gone into, which I have included in this post. I wasn’t as close in London but got some good long shots. Trying to find the place was a bit of a nightmare, but we managed to take our seats just before the lights went down. It was hot as hell and I followed suit by fanning myself with the programme (I’ve always wanted to do that). I felt a bit smug and a bit like one of those people who have already seen a film then go to see it again with their mates and can’t stop giving spoilers (my mum and sister were a bit sick of me by the end). The whole production was cranked up a notch – louder music, edgier models, more flashing lights…basically the Baltic on acid.
Who stood out for me, you may wonder. To be honest, I didn’t dislike anyone’s work, or feel like anyone was out of place in terms of quality. Yes, I have my favourites, but it’s all a matter of personal taste. Students designed in categories including Textiles (Womenswear and Menswear), Womenswear, Menswear, Textiles Unisex and Womenswear Knitware. Each graduate had five or six outfits. True to form, the wackiest collections spoke to me – the people that pushed the boundaries. Here’s my ones to watch:
Probably the most creative collection of the show, Jodi Worbley mixed the whimsical with pure fantasy; structured crinoline skirts paired with cropped tops, plastic mesh bags and the inspired peg carousel as a dream-like handbag. Great platform sandals as well. Inspired.
Obviously I’m a little biased towards womenswear but this menswear collection is worth a mention. The mustard coat was sublime and a real head turner, and I really liked the idea of a tailored grey jumpsuit. The patterned suit was another stand-out moment and showed her tailoring skills.
Rachel’s collection showcased angles, strong lines and shapes. I also liked the colour palette, and am a big fan of the pink cropped top and skirt. She understands what makes a strong silhoutte and is experimental with hem lines and structure.
Emma Edwards stood out with highly imaginative wearable prints and some great twists on classic cuts. I loved the Audrey glasses as well. I’m actually thinking about trying to contact her to buy the beautiful high-waisted skirt (photo number 2) which for me was one of the best looks of the whole show. I also really liked her use of the classic white shirt.
Basically this was like watching a private show for Lady Gaga, with the design brief of “mystery, intrigue and sex.” All black, with some seriously glam sparkle happening, the models covered heads added to the dramatic appeal, and created amazing silhouttes; the collection was rightly chosen as the show’s finale.
(I have used photos from the Baltic show as I had a better view, but will add in pictures from GFW in London very soon)!