Saturday, 22 June 2013

Bit late. Graduate Fashion Week.

I am very annoyed with myself for not posting this sooner but I have been snowed under… The other week, I was lucky enough to attend Graduate Fashion Week at Earl's Court with Next. I went along with the lovely Amber from Twentysomethingmummy and Lauren from Gold Lights & Sartorial Delights, Ngoni from IAMNRC, as well as Ellie from Next…it was ever so slightly hectic!

We started our hectic day with a pitstop for burgers, chips and mac'n'cheese - we knew we'd need lots of energy to get around the 40 universities and colleges showcasing fashion, accessories, shoes, lingerie, swimwear, childrenswear, photography, marketing, styling... *breathe* all in one afternoon! Earl's Court was the perfect venue as each college and university was given their own space - each bursting at the seams with designs, lookbooks and concepts that gave us an insight into the various creative processes.

After we perused the stalls and grabbed some goodie bags, we headed over to the Best of GFW show. Admittedly, we got slightly distracted before the show started as we spied Mr David Gandy sitting on the front row...but as soon as the lights dimmed we were firmly fashion focussed! Presented by the beautiful but completely bland and unprofessional Zara Martin and the ever-vivacious Henry Holland, the show was sharp, fast and super-slick.

Stand-out trends were collars, sleek oversized jackets, crisp white and fresh mints and yellows, and heavy nods to Maison Martin Margiela, Commes des Garcons, Ann Demeulemeester, Alexander Wang and Acne. A few designers went down the nostalgic route too, and went entirely in the opposite direction - cartoonish colours and garish designs bubbled down the catwalks with a definite accent of Japanese harajuku and Vivienne Westwood tongue-in-cheek accents. It was definitely a show of extreme minimalism AND extreme maximalism!

The show was incredible and some of our favourites - Kim Phillips, Thea Sanders, Nicholas Wirth, Josephine Pettman to name a few - stayed with us over a quick Pimms in the sunshine and a discussion over who we'd love to win the grand prize!

We headed into the Gala show with much excitement - particularly as we'd spied the front row arriving! Zandra Rhodes, Suzy Menkes, Hilary Alexander, Mr Gandy...and Eve! We managed to refrain from attempting to recreate the Gwen Stefani duet. Suzy Menkes received the lifetime achievement award from 'long-time sparring partner' Hilary Alexander, and gave a hugely inspirational speech where she commended the graduates and encouraged the industry to ensure we never let such talent go unnoticed. There was also an emotional video message from Christopher Bailey, previous designer at GFW and current head of design at Burberry and patron of the GFW charity. He spoke of how the designers should never lose the fire in their bellies and how they could achieve whatever they aimed for - cue a few wet eyes from the graduates!

The winners were announced in a flurry of gold glitter, and the atmosphere was almost a polar opposite to London Fashion Week - there was a sense of camaraderie and anticipation for the future from the next generation of designers and we were all hugely inspired by the sheer amount of work, dedication and soul that had gone into their collections. Josephine Pettman (Phiney Pet) was the absolute stand-out collection for me. I WANT IT ALL. Josephine, if that dinosaur dress is ever clogging up your wardrobe…

All in all it was great fun – my pictures are all up on Instagram if you want to see some blurred catwalks…