Show Review: University of Northumbria
(designs by Laura Mitchell and Lauren Lamont)
With a tough act to follow (last year's River Island Gold Award winner was from their college) the graduates of the University of Northumbria rose to the challenge with a mixture of technically skilled collections and fun, inspirational ideas. Convertible clothing seemed to be a big theme across the board. Rebecca Jones' silver-heavy, sporty collection included a quilted dress which could be zipped into its own bag, while Emma Coyle's models unzipped their anorak-style convertible jackets to reveal slinky sportswear and papery dress. Ming Gao took the 'girls wearing boys clothes' look to the extreme with a pair of men's trousers that converted into a slinky one-sleeve dress (the couple swapped on the runway)...
Trends we've already been spotting a lot of at GFW were prolific too; neons teamed with grey and silver, fabulously difficult to wear playsuits (this time topped with Edwardian style lace inlays), oversized shirts and and trousers with high waits and fitted ankles (not quite harem, but halfway there).
Romance was provided by Laura Mitchell, who topped full-skirted satin dresses and coats with laser-cut flowers and art deco style trims, and Richard Fawcett, who dressed his sophisticated woman in inky fishtail skirt suits, exotic feather headdresses and a showstopper of a frilled red lace evening dress.
(designs by Zheng Yang Liu and Lauren Lamont)
On the other side of the scale, minimal, boyish influences were key in other collections. Zheng Yang Liu rolled up the cuffs and hems of laid-back workwear that made the models look like they could have come from a commune. Linzi Reed went for a very minimal collection with key pieces like oversize white shirts, a chunky-knit cowl dress and a boxy grey pinafore dress teamed with old school satchels and tan brogues.
Menswear ranged from Luke Miller's modern-day gothic dandies (complete with canes, brocade jackets and scarab brooches) to Gemma Cottam's retro boys in a mixture of pastels and acid brights, working their skinny ties, slim trousers and pastel socks and white shoes.
The show ended with a bang as textiles student Sarah Nowell sent her take on Vegas showgirls down the catwalk, complete with burlesque feather fans, sparkly foil prints and nipple pasties. Ooh la la!