Edinburgh is the show I was hoping to see during Graduate Fashion Week. The show was one of the smaller ones, it was short and it was sweet.
The references and inspiration were used beautifully. I found myself able to instantly recognise the process of the designers from their concept to their final pieces. For example Heather Dooley’s “La Vie Parisienne” was clearly inspired by Bohemian Paris with a little nod to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” through the choice of colours and the little bell boy hats. Another strong reference could be seen in Kiki McKenzie’s “You do not Have to be Your Mother”, which for me suggested disco and 80s bright neon fashions. What is important with these references though is that these designers bring something new, something innovating. For Dooley her choice of fabrics and her embellishments with the tassels is what excited me and for McKenzie her juxtaposition of lace, large sequins and faux fur.
The layering of similar coloured and textured fabrics was also a recurring theme in this show. Constanze Bachmann’s “The Compression of Space/ Lord of Trash-Mountain” demonstrated how the layering of asymmetrical angular garments, sometimes pleated, can create bold sharp garments that accentuate the female models’ angular faces. Contrastingly in the same show Andrew Dhesi in his “The Lost boy” also uses layering in a quite sculptural way but to quick the opposite affect his garments are light, ephemeral and angelic especially when the models were moving and brought the femininity of the male models. This was emphasised by the models’ bare feet and the angelic music playing in the background. Quite a contrast to Bachmann’s layering and juxtaposition of asymmetrical shapes.
The final thing that really impressed me was the use of pattern and colour throughout the show. Eleanor Paulin’s “Genetic Metamorphosis” showcased bright, bold, almost childlike patterns that shows the aesthetic qualities of DNA and genes, having only seen them in diagrams in biology textbooks.
The colours worked wonderfully and against the white made them come alive. The dresses and skirts made out of long thin strips of colour swayed effortlessly as the models walked down the catwalk. As the models walked the strips of colour would tangle and untangle simultaneously presenting the audience with a new pattern at every stride.The other collection I’d like the pick out is Melissa Villevieille’s “Fauve, Moi?”. Her use of horizontal and vertical lines simultaneously in the same garment evoked a sense of power, almost the power dress suits of the 1980s. For me this collection had a sense of the foreboding, a sense that these models will do something dramatic and this tension brought me to the edge of my seat. Despite this the patterns still maintained a sense of femininity, the circular lines on the models’ behinds and at times the direction of the lines on jackets emphasised the curvature of the female bodies. This brought even more tension and was an excellent end to the show in my opinion.
This show was strong on every front. I loved how designers in the same show used the same textiles and materials but to completely opposite ends. The whole spectrum of skills and techniques were on show. If I were a betting man I would feel confident betting that this show will win awards, they’ve already started with McKenzie having won Medusa Graduate Collection; Best use of Colour & Cutting. I hope the other shows will be as innovating and exciting but it is a tough one to beat.
Written by George Toon, contributor for Erebus.