Excitement mounted as students, press and celebrities took to their seats in preparation for the long-awaited Gala 1 show on the last day of Graduate Fashion Week 2012. Rifling through goodie bags which included Rimmel Scandal Eyes mascara, George shatter nail varnish and the latest edition of fashion magazine Phoenix, everybody was also eager to spot a famous face in the front row- Daphne Guinness, Hilary Alexander and Matthew Williamson were to name just a few.
After a fantastic few days of catwalk shows, exhibitions and exclusive talks with some of the best in the industry, the shortlist for the GFW 2012 Awards have been revealed, and it was time to celebrate the culmination of these talented students’ years of hard work. Hosting the show was Caryn Franklin, British fashion expert, who warmly welcomed the audience and kindly thanked GFW Sponsors, friends and family and university lecturers for their strong support which has helped make these students’ collections some of the best ever seen to date.
The show’s main aim was to recap the nominated students’ collections. Kick-starting the catwalk shows were the International nominees. Here a strong commitment to using structure, texture and colour was obvious. Yvonne Kwok from Amsterdam was a perfect representative of the talent and skill which is displayed by young designers today with her collection of colourful, candy creations which were explosions of shape, structure and colour. The attention to detail in these creations were of an extremely high standard.
In the knitwear category Emma Walsh from Nottingham Trent stood out with her subtle but statement collection with a loose grey knit dress which glistened under the spotlight and which had yellow detailing, right down to the model’s socks. Subtlety came through aspects such as high collars, fluffy circular kneepads and shapely shoulders. All nominees showed an outstanding commitment to using knitwear in an innovative way.
Fresh from impressing the crowd at her Northumbria Show, Amelia Smith showed that she was no one-trick pony with her Russian inspired black, white and gold creations. Channelling the elegance of Russian dolls, models took to the catwalks in beautiful geometric print creations which were structured in a rounded and feminine manner. Continuing the talent in the textiles award Dae-Byn Lee of Nottingham displayed his skill of originality with creations that saw several garments merged into one in bolshy print colours, asymmetrically shaped. Xiaoping Huang of Lanchashire presented perhaps the craziest collection yet which mimicked stripy accordions that engulfed the model’s bodies alongside music print patterns.
Finishing off the show was the most highly anticipated award- the gold. Nominees in this category displayed astonishing talent. Every single collection displayed originality and innovation- just what the fashion industry is always striving to find in young designer talent. Claire Acton from Central Lancashire got smiles from the front row with her designs which had an over-riding ‘hair’ theme. Through fringing, and the use of bold colours, shaping and a LOT of hair clips, garments flowed down the catwalk representing human heads. A distinct sixties, happy-go-lucky theme came hand in hand with this collection.Chloe Jones from Bath Spa made a success out of an unlikely duo- religion and sportswear! Modern-day monk hoods contributed to designs which turned sportswear into high fashion. Toggles aplenty and an anorak turned dress were main features of the show.
The standard of talent in menswear was also highly impressive. Emily Edge from Northumbira created excitement in subtle ways with psychedelic shirts, occasional metallic detailing and bursts of bold colour whilst Alice Griffiths from UCS Epsom went for a rather feminine daisy menswear range.
It would be impossible to include every example of outstanding talent that graced the catwalk at the Gala Show today. The best of luck to all students who are in the running for an award. The results will be announced at the Gala 2 Show later today! We can’t wait!
(Photography by Daniella Farrow)