After trying to squeeze my pheasant tail-feather brooch into a packed out Central line tube, I arrived at Earls Court for the Graduate Fashion week Gala show and awards.
Avoiding an embarrassing walk down the ‘Pink’ carpet we were bustled through into a Champagne reception. The bubbles were flowing and the Fash-Pack were in full swing. Members of the party included Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud (looking incredibly pale but intimidatingly beautiful), Amelle Berrabah (the cockney one from Sugababes), Bonny Wright from Harry Potter, Kanya King Founder of the MOBO award, dance group Diversity, Alberta Ferretti, copious editors from ELLE, British Vogue and GQ and heads from fashion houses including Mulberry and McQueen.
In my excited gallop from the toilet back to where the bubbles were being sipped and sparkling smiles passed around generously, I stupidly bumped into someone. That someone turned out to be the inexplicably beautiful Erin O’Connor… *cheeks flush* *heart falls out my mouth*. Thankfully I didn’t get rugby wrestled to the ground by boulders of security men, and all was well if not slightly embarrassing.
A short while later I was taking my seat and apologising to the attendees seated behind me, for the unnecessary size of my blinding, feathered brooch.
I always love student fashion: it’s so fresh and fun, especially in today’s era when many of these young designers are completely smashing down the boundaries of fashion, which for me is truly inspiring. So my excitement for the pending collections was oozing.
The show started with a series of awards doled out by various celebs to un-expecting students. When I say un-expecting I’m completely serious: there were a group of students out back having a desperate fag, when one of their names was called. To the hosts (Caryn Franklyn) dismay they were not there to collect their award and scampered back through the audience, in a panicked frenzy once someone had run out to tell her the news.
The last award for ‘Most Inspiring Person’ was voted for by British fashion students, and was awarded to Lee Alexander McQueen. The award was received by the CEO of McQueen who gave a very emotional and inspiring speech at which point stifled inhales to hold back genuine sadness was heard throughout the venue.
After the awards were received, the back drop disappeared to reveal a scaffolding draped in models, who very carefully yet precisely climbed down the steep stairs and took to the runway. And so the graduates show commenced.
Menswear is getting more and more exhilarating and many of the graduate’s collections emulated this and then pushed it even further.Here a few of my favourites from the week.
Alena TikhonovaThis was such an outstanding collection in the flesh. The detail and precision of the garments was completely dazzling. It was yet another collection that I would happily be the proud owner of every single piece. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the graduates tutor and I also received an invite from her to attend their version of GFW in Russia. Yes please!
Antonia LloydWhen I saw this collection I thought if you tightened the shorts you could quite easily be looking at a Calvin Klein collection. Future CK designer maybe? And the bib shirt: I’ll take it in every colour, thanks.
Bobby Charles AbleyOh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby if you’re reading this, will you be my BFF and make all my clothes please? I am completely in love with this collection and would wear (here’s hoping) every single piece right down to the rubber gloves. Even if you remove the eye-catching bondage wear you’re still left with a remarkable collection full of pioneering shapes, textures, colour and patterns. I love it!
Gary James ButterfieldGarry produced a really innovative collection, including huge sheep and goat skin coats with patterns burnt into them, layers of billowing fabric, drop crotch pants and a to-die-for Barbour-esque cape.
Katie BarrettKatie fashioned a collection of loose fit cottons and flowing Man-skirts, chunky knits and mould-stain print jackets all in mute greys and blacks, teamed with traffic light red socks, Tees and belts. I think the overall look of this collection is a real trend setter.
Thomasin Gautier-OllerenshawWhen Thomasin’s collection came out I had to repress the desire to stand up. This knitwear collection is so fun and although very eccentric, it’s wearable. Everytime I look at this collection I smile, that is exactly what fashion is all about for me. Check out the candy orange clogs, future trend?
Thomas CrispWinner of the Menswear award, Thomas created an accessible, ready to wear collection featuring a Man skirt, lots of leather and some exquisite tailoring. Simple yet eccentric! I actually bumped into Thomas in Earls Court tube station after the event and congratulated him and marvelled at his award. Congratulations again Thomas.
The Show is OverWithout delay, as soon as the last ovation was complete, no one hesitated in dashing to the after party. Which was a lovely, bustling square of chit chat and high spirited graduates, press, supporting celebs and industry massives, all being crammed full of Champagne, falafel, beer, wine, chicken and the most AMAZING mini cheese cakes. I’m pretty sure they weren’t the Iceland ?1 variety. Before long Kiss100 DJ Neev took to the decks and let’s just say when you fill a busy fash-pack with booze and blast the speakers you get one hell of a party…
On my departure, slightly too full of red wine and beer, and franticly trying to kill the urge to cab it to Soho for the after, after party, I was stopped by a street style pap to take my picture… it turned out she was so wasted she couldn’t turn her camera on.
If you follow me on twitter you may already know, however if not, I’m working on some exclusive write-ups for a couple of the graduate menswear designers, so keep an eye out.