The master graduates’ fashion show that kicked off London Fashion Week on Friday night was the first such runway outing since the school moved to its new location — a brand new building with spacious rooms in the King’s Cross St. Pancras area. Was it the impressive new space that drove the graduation class to such overstatement? Or was it the project that is exhibited at Somerset House titled “Reclaim To Wear,” exposing the students’ up-cycled creations?
The 20 student collections stalking the runway were cobbled together from what not: workshop scraps, foam, crinkled paper, glittery cardboard, stained felt patched with clear plastic. Pattern-making and technique took a backseat to shock tactics. Even Lagy Gaga would have had passed on the most desperate attempts to be provocative — like the student who sent out silhouettes reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan hats, burkas or execution hoods.
A few designs stood out from the mess. Textile designer Erna Einarsdottir mixed knitwear yarns with metallic embroidery, creating shimmering panels on heather gray wool skirts and dresses. Knitwear designer Hiroko Nakajima showed colorful and graphic felted wool sweater dresses, some with giant numbers bringing to mind billiard balls. These were the two most polished and convincing outings. There were also intriguing pieces from Yulia Kondranina, who employed long fringes on metallic hoop structures to recreate lampshade-like version of Madame Grès’ intricately draped dresses.