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Future Fashion: SEEN at Collective Individualism’s LCCA Graduate Show

SEEN has observed the future of fashion, and it is good. The figure of Christ on the Cross gazed down on proceedings at St Andrew’s Holborn, the pews were arranged to create the catwalk, the great and good took their seats and a very sophisticated and sleek fashion show entranced an appreciative audience.

SEEN has observed the future of fashion, and it is good. The figure of Christ on the Cross gazed down on proceedings at St Andrew’s Holborn, the pews were arranged to create the catwalk, the great and good took their seats and a very sophisticated and sleek fashion show entranced an appreciative audience.

Nicola Bacchilega showed an eclectic collection that was innovative in form and texture. SEEN felt he was a contender for the theatricality of fashion in the manner of Alexander McQueen. His use of drapes and fairytale colours was striking; Reanaldo Belle showed a stripped-down industrial set of clothes, complete with utilitarian structural mask – a homage perhaps to Orwell’s 1984.

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Codruta-Ivona Brucus debuted a selection of structured leather pieces that seemed ideal for swimming, and wearing après swim, transforming into evening wear with a swish of a cape; Segan Kibri’s minimal symmetrical patterns were eminently wearable; Tina Arhin made bold use of the fashion perennial of uniform, harking back to ages past, yet updating with spectacular gold frogging, buttons and zips; Tamara Herbert’s collection also had a distinct military vibe, the cropped jacket and chain details making it fashion-forward.

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Berna Ayguel’s seventies-inspired deconstruction of denim was tremendous fun (and SEEN’s favourite); Safaa El Maarouf’s pared-down-to-its-elements shirts and skirts displayed understated elegance; Sam McCann’s simple menswear silhouettes managed to look utilitarian and luxe simultaneously; Poonam Mahajan’s collection called to SEEN’s mind the structured garments of Samurai warriors; Adebola Awoyemi’s swirls of colour and structured outfits displayed intricate embroidery, harking back to old-world skills;

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Margarita Zuluaga’s bright prints made SEEN think of Keith Haring – eminently wearable teamed with black; Emma Parry’s bold goth stylings showed how much elegance there is using texture; Sibu Dladla’s witty use of cropping and ruching in menswear made his collection stand out – a restricted palette of colours only serving to heighten the tailoring.

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Siriah Bentley’s gowns were somehow fairytale and tough at the same time; Zainab Abdullah’s spectacular dresses made the lining the star of her show; Jordan Iordanaeus’ delicate pink translucent dresses deployed intricate embroidery to luxe effect, while the bold colours and ethereal silhouettes of Mary Martin’s stunning creations brought the show to a spectacular end.

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The show certainly fulfilled its brief: Collective Individualism. SEEN was quite simply blown away by the wide range of styles, techniques and designs on show plus a strong feeling of teamwork and collaboration. I feel very privileged to have seen these young designers at what can only be the beginnings of glittering careers. I was also very struck by the diversity of talent; London is an international city, and it’s very heartening to see young designers overcoming many challenges, not the least of them the competitiveness of the fashion industry today, to break through.

The London College of Contemporary Arts comprises four schools: Fashion and Design, Photography and Moving Image, Graphics and Multimedia and Creative Arts Management. The College is very career-focused, balancing theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience. Silja Manninen, Fashion Programme Leader at LCCA said, ‘The fashion industry in the UK represents 6% of the GDP and employs over 2 million people in different roles. This course gives students the right skills to successfully find their career pathways in a competitive environment.’ Long may it continue to do so.

Credits

Photography courtesy of London College of Contemporary Arts, by Stefano Masse.