The Royal College of Art Graduate Show
Don't get me wrong, I love fashion, but after last night's incredibly long, hot and sticky GFW show, the thought of spending another day in a hot, crowded enclosed space looking at student fashion didn't excite me as much as it usually would. However, the moment I rocked up at the Royal College of Art, it became clear that their show is truly in a league of its own.
The name most CQ visitors are most likely to recognise from the RCA line-up will be Project Catwalk's Christopher Raeburn, and if you saw any of his work on the Sky One show you'll have a fair idea of the standard of design and construction that sets these MA students apart from the rest of the wannabe fash pack. Other names I was interested in seeing included up-and-coming shoe designer Camilla Skovgaard (who also provided the shoes (left) for Christopher's collection) and Denis Antoine, the menswear designer who scooped a Graduate Fashion Week award in 2004.
It's impossible to do justice to the collections without pictures, but sadly I couldn't whip the cameraphone out for this one (the underlying message was "don't film our show or we'll keeeeel you"). It sounds like Susie managed to get some footage though, which hopefully she'll post soon.
Overall, this was an amazing show. There was the usual weird, artsy fashion you'd expect from students (Not my kind of thing - I know I'm mainstream and I'm ok with that!) but there was also a lot of surprisingly wearable and functional clothing, and everything from cowboys to ballerinas taking to the catwalk.
It's the technique that jumps out at you first with these students. They really are the cream of the crop. The knitwear was outstanding, from big chunky cabled scarves and cardigans in Fiona Hillhouse's menswear collection to stunning grey and cream fair isle creations that teamed skiwear with sci-fi from Nina Jensen-Collman. Claire Duke-Woolley showed gorgeous bright colours and 60s style prints that wouldn't look out of place in a vintage shop but still seem very current.
The tailoring and fabric construction - especially where coats were concerned - was unbelievable, especially from Christopher Raeburn (the back of his final coat was so complicated I can't even begin to think how he managed to produce it) and Jasmyn Schutten, who showed some beautiful coats in sage green with decorative buttons and belted waists. Eudon Choi created a great coat that belted over the bust rather than below it. Denis Antoine's mens tailoring was inspired by stuffy old English dressing (think deckchair stripes and florals), with each outfit modelled by the man who inspired it.
RCA students have gone on to very big things in the past, and I wouldn't expect any less from these students. Since my talking about the collections does them no justice, I got hold of an extra copy of the gorgeous glossy show brochure, which is full of photos and information on each designer, and is a great collector's item if you're a real fashion fan. I'll give it away to the person who sends the best email explaining why they deserve it! Send your messages to firstname.lastname@example.org by next Friday!