GALLERY: Westminster Kicks Off Graduate Fashion Season
Saying that the The University of Westminster kicked all things graduate fashion off with a bang last night would be an understatement; they obliterated it. As the models hit the runway, I was dazzled and dazed by the intricate knits and holographic helmets, layer upon layer of silk and tirelessly perfect embroidery!
Set in Baker Street's oversized Ambika P3 venue, the vast space was filled to the brim with supporters alike, from family and friends to the press and even the odd celebrity face (I'm talking about you, Will Young). With previous graduates like Christopher Bailey and puppy lover Ashley Williams, it's no surprise these students were pushed to the extremes to compete with their former counterparts and boy, did they succeed. With 17 designers in total - 14 womens collections and 3 mens - each graduate showcased 7 different looks, allowing the upcoming designers to give a clear sense of their signature styles and to portray the sheer talent of the University on a whole.
Philli Wood used neon pink, orange and corals across oversized hooded coats, dresses and leggings, playing with scale via a cleverly knitted print that featured throughout on everything from padded garments and even socks. I loved her attention to detail, which was particularly apparent in the beautiful lining and chunky toggles.
Tom Guy had the crowd giggling with his spaceman pastel glamour, which reflected a similar bizarreness of a certain Christopher Kane. We were entertained by a holographic star embellished motorcycle helmet and baby pink jumpsuit worn by the opening model, whilst those who followed donned head-to-toe sparkle and sheer pieces. Kudos for the beautiful rose printed biker jacket!
Grace Cooper broke out against the bright colours with a dark colour palette of black and grey complimented with a yellow-gold to catch the eye of those magpie fashion fans on the front row. Pairing padded black bodices with silk skirts and heavily gold stitched embroidery, Cooper gave a rich, luxurious feel to an otherwise cool grungey look.
For me, the pièce de résistance of the evening was Sophie Nuttall's collection which stole the show with stationery-themed garments consisting of hole punched fabrics made to mimic thick paper, plastic files, and reinforcement stickers held together by binding rings. It gave me the impression of something the Borrowers might conjure up, yet despite its costume element, it remained completely chic and high fashion with the ability to transform to ready to wear garments.
The talent didn't stop just there: Louise Alsop offered up a rocky, monochrome take on layering whilst Claire Storey brought a beautiful array of knits (seriously, she must have started them when she was 7!) Victoria Rowe went for gothic and dramatic whereas Sian Thomas' sheer dresses were so sexy the fire alarm went off.
Andrew Groves, Course Director of the University of Westminster's BA (Hons) Fashion Design, said"This year's graduates have once again shown why Westminster is renowned for producing designers that are the perfect combination of creativity and commerciality.. Their runway show highlighted their diverse aesthetics and approaches to fashion, and gave us a glimpse of the future of fashion."
Take a peek at the gallery above to see designs by Lisa Clayton, Grace Cooper, Sophie Tolhurst, Tom Guy, Louise Whittington, Holly Penfold, Sarah Dowling, Sian Thomas, Claire Storey, Chloe Bayles, Victoria Rowe, Sophie Nuttall, Louise Alsop and Philli Wood.
[Photography by Simon Armstrong]