Rips, cuts, and gashes usually signify attitude; a person who doesn’t need or want to look neat. But De Montfort University’s GFW show gave us tight-fitting, ladylike silhouettes as well as equally sophisticated free-flowing garments. At Graduate Fashion Week 2014, DMU’s graduates presented designs that did not feel the need to emulate vintage styles, establishing instead an aesthetic of their own. Revealing flesh in demure ways became De Montfort University’s signature throughout their Graduate Fashion Week show.
Hannah Colledge’s burned out strips came about through devoré, with the chemical technique burning some of the fabric’s fibre away to leave sheer gashes among the grey and black material. Smattered all over the silhouette and combined with tasselled fringing, the technique accentuated the female form in a surprisingly polished way.
Danielle Sanderson layered open zips over sheer plasticised tartan designs, uncovering the skin beneath the sleeves. Sanderson created a recurring pattern with bronze foil panels teamed with pleated fabric hanging from the neck, waist and back on chiffon shirts and skirts.
Sophie Bateson’s focus remained on the arms but ripped elbows exposed a different part of the garment. Loose cuts featured vinyl giraffe print stuck on a sheer fabric in stone and wine tones.
Gabriella Palermo created an even looser silhouette reminiscent of oriental Japanese style for her lacy designs. Midnight blue velveteen flowers were set above a transparent aquamarine material on flowing trousers while tinted neon orange and pink lace panels were layered with heavier black ones, balancing a sense of seriousness with a feeling of stylish fun.
Stacey Warner added a punk kick to her collection; stationery-like metal rings fastened seams and snaked their way round the garment. Jeans were cropped with the same silver steel detailing. While Warner’s line-up had a more neutral palette, Chelsie Leadbeater’s crazy acid designs livened up the room. Aztec and camouflage prints merged on jumpsuits in intense shades of red, blue and leafy green. Styled with athletic visors and trainers slung over shoulders, Leadbeater’s girl was cool and sporty.
Finishing off with similar cut-out detailing, Ines Arconada Vasquez made us all want to dress like ladies.
Vasquez moved far away from the boyish silhouette, stunningly shaping dresses and two-pieces around the female body. A vinyl molten lava print placed on structured doctor bags and panels – tracking the curve of the shoulder blades while leaving the actual shoulders exposed – was a particular highlight.
Menswear may have been lacking but that was no sore point with a multitude of womenswear dyes and shapes to make up for it. There was an overall hand-made craft feel to DMU’s graduate collection in the sense that every design was intricately finished yet each designer sent out something different.
All photographs by Christos Mitsios