Now in its third year, Kingston’s Fashion Innovation MA showcased at Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of their schedule for September’s London Fashion Week.
Set in a majestic space on the first floor of the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden, the nine students presented work exploring themes from sustainability and biotechnology to human psychology. The static display was accompanied by a digital catwalk presentation.
At the centre of the show was Ninela Ivanova’s ‘greenhouse’ of wearable moulds and fungi inspired textiles. Petri dishes of her own cultivated mould recipes were displayed next to Mycelium inspired dresses made from laser cut velvet and silicone. Ivanova challenges the perception of mould as something ugly. Her aim is to use the microbiology of moulds to create sustainable and beautiful textiles.
Another ARTS THREAD favourite was Dutch designer Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse who presented her sustainable collection ‘Biomimicry’, created for bio-waste firm InCrops Enterprise Hub. Made from discarded plywood, laser cut diamonds are applied to organic, unbleached cotton through painstaking gluing and hand stitching. The result is something akin to luxury reptile skin, equally durable but also eco-friendly. Surprisingly fluid in their appearance her collection ranges from a sculptural wooden corset and maxi dress to handcrafted shoes and neckpieces.
In ‘Reveal Conceal’, Marie Elise Llagas strips her womenswear collection back to its purest state to create minimal yet powerful silhouettes. Oversized letterbox and abstract acrylic shapes are a key element, applied to block, conceal and highlight areas of the female body. A signature colour blended dress inspired by 1960’s artist Craig Kaufman plays in contrast to a palette which is otherwise predominantly black and white.
Elaine Tsai explores texture and human fragility in her menswear collection. Looking at skin and hair as the elements which form the human shell, she experiments with typecast male and female fabrications contrasting sheer organza, chiffon and nylon with cracked neoprene, dense mohair and stranded hair details. Layered silhouettes pair flesh toned leather jackets with androgynous skirts, tunics and collarless chiffon shirts to blur the boundaries of gender.
’276.2′ by Stephanie Jane Price takes inspiration from the work of Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance Academy. Her all black womenswear collection draws its inspiration from the idea that the garment becomes part of the environment, where the body finds a place to be entangled and manoeuvre. Layered silhouettes combine free flowing chiffons with restrictive leather and heavy draping.
Han Gu’s Chinese grandmother used to create fantastical origami dragon boats and swans from folded paper triangles. This recollection inspires ‘Triangular Memories’. Stark silhouettes are made beautiful with intricate collars, neckpieces and details created from layered triangles of iridescent PVC. Leather combines with chiffon and monochrome geometric prints to resulting in an edgy but feminine collection.
A multi-sensory project by Fay Gascoigne for perfume company Givaudan focuses on the power of smell to induce emotion, and in particular the scent of lavender. During WW1 Soldiers would impregnate letters with lavender oil to send home to their loved ones as well as using its healing properties on bruises and cuts. Drawing inspiration from the structure of lavender pods she creates bulbous jackets from flower camouflage prints. Highlights also include a wax like torso piece scented with lavender oil layered over a chiffon dress.
Two students showcased fashion films. The first Wolfgang Jarnach is inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s novella ‘Traumnovelle’ (Dream Story). It describes the tale of one man’s journey through the hidden depths of his own psyche. Set in fin-de-siècle Vienna, the film explores the repressed desires, fantasies, and passions underneath the surface of a seemingly happy marriage.
Two actors model Jarnach’s collection of men’s and womenswear in a palette of midnight blue, black and wine. The clothes interchange with the protagonists’ mood; from demure artisan tailoring to more provocative silhouettes, such as a silk shirt dress with leather holster, as emotions reach their dangerous climax.
In contrast Inolé Crockart’s non-fiction project MA Fashion TV documents the work of her peers on the MA course. Through behind the scenes glimpses and interviews she challenges the designers to question their work and think about how they might be part of achieving innovations in fashion. It makes for an interesting insight into the core values behind this MA – from multi-disciplinary collaboration and documenting process to the constant strive for innovation in fashion.
Kingston MA Fashion on ARTS THREAD