As their menswear counterparts did just last month (here), this week students from the MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear course at London College of Fashion will present their graduate collections in an off-schedule precursory to London Fashion Week.
Just 12 students will present their work, handpicked by an industry panel that boasts amongst its ranks fashion editor Julia Sarr-Jarmois, magazine editor Holly Fraser, Amanda Hayward of Fenwick and Bloody Gray’s Becc Gray; the show itself will take place at The Wallace Collection, the first time such an event has occurred at the historic London townhouse.
Working with the same team responsible for the LC:M showcase, Anders Sølvsten Thomsen has been brought in to style the show and recently appointed Nars UK Make-up Artist Ambassador, Andrew Gallimore heads the make-up team; likewise Felix Cooper and Jeanie Annan-Lewin produced the preview images above.
Speaking to Clash ahead of fashion week, the former LCF student (Sølvsten Thomsen dropped out in 2006 to work full time with Katie Grand), reckons of the college today versus then: “the overall level of students has gotten a lot better and the college is investing and working hard to showcase all the talent that comes from their different MA lines to the industry.”
Currently signed to CLM – the same agency that represents Grand and Sarr-Jamois – Anders’ career has seen him work closely with high end labels such as Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Nina Ricci, while his portfolio features collaborations with photographers Juergen Teller and Boo George.
So what is it that makes the LCF gig? “I think it's feeling how much they really want it. Their determination, energy and creativity is inspiring, and obviously it's great to have a first hand view,” he offers.
“I also enjoy working with the students on how to prepare a collection for a show. Again, each student takes advice and critique very differently and it's exciting to see how each session works out.”
He’s democratic when it comes to standout students, informing us only that, “there are a few that have really impressed me both in design and work ethics,” adding later that they’re all still working hard on the final details of their collections, naturally.
As far as each student’s inspiration goes, variation is key. Elly Choi’s ‘Geek Couture’, we’re told, was “inspired by a ‘book geek’ in an old, archaic and unorganised library where she tries to find a book but falls down in a heap.”
Shinye Kim meanwhile, says her designs “originally derived from my curiosity of human reactions to stimuli. This is a very abstract notion, so I mainly focused on the concept of responses and how exaggerated and distorted in human psychology these reactions can become.” Elsewhere Jean Baudrillard quotes, moving colour and the Overview Effect influenced Kelly Cho, Meng Yu and Maria Piankov respectively.
Post-graduation, the creative director – as his LCF role stretches – has high but realistic hopes for the class of ’15, stating “I would like to see them continue with their own labels, but I also know how important it is to get more experience working for big houses and understanding all elements of a successful business.”
Many of the students themselves have similar aspirations, involving their own studios and in some cases, independent shops. Yutong Jiang has already planned to join forces with classmate Shushu on the brand SHUSHU/TONG, a “high end street style independent design brand”, while Diani Diaz hopes to become a creative designer for luxury brands.
Sisi Tang aims to create a label for “women with a sensitive attitude to fashion,” and Miho Ho asserts an interest in tailoring and is already in talks with LCF MA menswear graduate Yu Ding for a collaborative label; Scottacus Anthony wants to show his own name label on schedule in London or Paris.
This Thursday at least, the group have their first (collective) platform to communicate their ideas to those at Hertford House and beyond, as a la Kanye for adidas, a live stream will be available via the LCF channel from 7pm (here). We're all eyes.
Words: Zoe Whitfield