Presenting the work of thirty MA Fashion graduates across menswear, womenswear and knitwear, the Royal College of Art MA Fashion 2014 show, marked Professor Wendy Dagworthy's last show as she retires in July after a 16-year tenure at the RCA as Dean of the School of Material. Known for training the likes of Burberry's Christopher Bailey, Nina Ricci's Peter Copping and new generation designers such as Erdem, her final show was an execution of artisanal talent with students utilising high-tech practices underpinned by a rich narrative ranging from minimal to loud collections. Here are STYLEFAN's top picks from the show.
Dan WJ Prasad
Prasad, winner of the last edition of the Brioni Award, presented his final collection titled 'The Emergence of An Idol' which is based on progression modelled on very personal incidents while referencing historical secret membership groups such as the Freemasons. Based upon traditional tailoring techniques with aid from the Italian tailoring masters, Brioni, Prasad flawlessly fused the softness of drape and the hardness of tailoring.
Faye Oakenfull (Knitwear)
Oakenfull showed a collection inspired by her Great Uncle Walter: a romanticised image built from the remnants of a man who died too young due to AIDS, kept alive in old letters, belongings, photo albums and a favourite niece’s fond memory. A vibrant, textile led aesthetic with a nod to AIDS Memorial Quilts, Keith Haring’s jeans, nostalgic embroidery, old prints and handcrafts.
Dindler took inspiration from African costumes alongside 1970s fashion and graphics and 1990s hip-hop attitude. Ending his looks with a multicoloured fox and rabbit fur coat embellished with nylon frills and Swarovski crystals, this was a bold sportswear collection filled with big, strong shapes and various textures with an 'I don’t give a f***' attitude.
Inspired by the wealth of cultures and religions of the Luton community, Mistry's collection reinterprets sportswear and traditional Asian garments with innovative and high-tech cutting. The colour palette takes its lead from Luton's football club: orange, blue, white and black.
Luxury Rock. Horrox drew inspiration from punk and rock and roll and showed a collection gripped with stains, sweat, oil and chains. Horrox's dark collection was crafted with details from 1970 punk fanzines and hand printing via photo etching on leather, wools, and denim. Classic silhouettes were realised, mashed with punk wear and metal studs. Furthered with Kurt Cobain memorabilia embroidery, this gives us a hint to Horrox's muse.
Inspired by the fauna of fanciful animals and freaks in the unknown world, Cho expressed the work of photographer Joan Fontcuberta in his collection through intricate details with various coloured materials and fastening parts which physically manifest a Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Through fabric manipulation, Hardstaff creates the illusion of a constructed and recognisable garment conjuring iridescent beetles covered in layers of delicate white tulle, creating a hard-soft juxtaposition. Offered in shimmering pink, green and blue, each look had an 'exploded silhouette' drawn in tightly with elastic to create oversized yet defined garments
Inspired by flash backs, Kelly creates oversized jackets and coats, seemingly being released from a myriad of textures. Hair and feathers in blues, greens and greys adorn the seams of trench coats and nylon sportswear that trail on and fall behind the girl as if she's wandering through an enchanted forest in her memories
Turtiainen took inspiration from a bottle that has no discernable inside or outside for her silhouettes. She plays with her garments by combing her soft draped tops with rough and tough denim to create a singular visual experience.
Roberts-Wood's collection marks a synergistic approach between textile technique development and silhouette. The linking layered technique creates fabric and form through repetition of a single unit: a wave; reflecting natural and mathematical influences.
Building upon her love for construction, Bennetts created a series of well-constructed garments by creating large silhouettes that seem to peel out of the clothes before being concealed again. In this black and granite collection, Bennetts utilises industrial materials and steel corset boning as her main scaffold to create her sculptural shapes. Bennetts also worked with dancers to mark dynamic movement and a touch of femininity in her designs alongside core architectural influences.
Inspired by the loss of her mother, Jakubowski expresses pain, madness and sadness through her designs. The silhouettes are inspired by traditional tailoring and connect to metal head-pieces which are inspired by orthopaedic apparatus. Light jersey becomes a veil attached to the train of another dress symbolising an umbilical cord between a mother and daughter.
Photography: Dominic Tschudin (Courtesy of the Royal College of Art)