THE WOMEN’S ROOM: Master’s degree students from London College of Fashion delivered a clear and powerful message in their fall 2019 group show, offering their personal takes on empowered women.
Ten students from the M.A. Fashion Design Technology Women’s Wear course — nine of them Chinese and one Korean — were selected. They showcased clothing with relaxed attitude, loose yet sharp tailoring and mellow color palettes — all sure to appeal to Phoebe Philo-philes.
“Each student has their own take and aesthetic, but also they are a very particular group. They share a similar value. They all talk about female empowerment, and focus on creating a new narrative in femininity,” said Jessica Saunders, program director of fashion at London College of Fashion.
Xiaonan Ma, 27, explored traditional English sports, such as horseback riding and hunting, and added a dash of Wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy that embraces transience and imperfection. Her last look, a white and periwinkle gingham dress and deconstructed leather trench coat, illustrated her aesthetic – quirky and modest.
Missy Yue Wu, 26, had a feminine, twisted vision of female empowerment. Having trained at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, she said she wanted to break rules. “You can see I use lots of corset structure in my collection, underneath the polka dot dress or outside a loose red dress. Corset used to be a symbol of the destruction of women’s freedom, but I want to make it modern and functional, and express freedom with it,” Wu said.
The Wuhan-born Huiying Xiong, 24, is the only designer who took a sportier direction. “My inspiration comes from roller skaters from the Eighties. Girls can be sporty and cool; Cool is very important to my collection,” she said. She also designed very cool sneakers to go with her brand, Hyin911, in the vein of Raf Simons x Adidas.
Chao Yin’s recalled Mary Quant’s style in a modern way. Inspired by sculpture from artist Rachel Whiteread and Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara, his sleek and modern tailored pieces came with a daisy flower pattern and in a palette of olive green, deep lake blue, ivory, chocolate brown.
Korean-born Yooju Kim, who closed the show, presented her vision of what French royal court might look like in the 23rd Century. She said the collection began with her research on duvets and pillows, sofas and curtains. The use of luxurious textiles and quirky shapes made her designs memorable. She also heat-pressed silver foil onto Sophie Hallette Lace and then scratched it to create a distorted effect on the surfaces of the clothing.
Most designers said they wanted to start their own brand in the future, some right after graduation. “We help them a lot on the business side, to understand their customer and price point. We have a very good enterprise team at LCF to get their brand going at the start,” Saunders said.