Masters of Outerwear
Kingston University’s fashion show kicked off in dramatic style at GFW 2014 with Lauren Lake’s series of super-sized sheepskin coats in candy floss pink and soft dove grey. Long shearling hair edged hems were sculpted with overlapping oblique lines and underneath the models wore latex dresses in a similar palette. The collection set the tone for this year’s show which saw Kingston fashion graduates emphasising rubber and plastic-derived materials and dramatic or asymmetric shapes.
Ranked fourth in the world, Fashion Design at Kingston is a particularly prestigious course, and its show at Graduate Fashion Week is always highly anticipated. Kinston University sees fashion as inextricably intertwined with culture and encourages its fashion students to consider and appreciate the cultural, social, environmental, historical and political dynamics which impact it. Practical experience is obligatory and students must complete industry placements in their final year, pitching collections to respected design houses.
Karen Verey’s collection was menswear at its most delicate. She dotted pale grey marl and powder blue denim with the petals of pressed flowers trapped beneath a thin film of plastic. Dried daisies adorned the front of working men’s shoes where steel caps would otherwise be. Karen skilfully created a tension between organic and artificial, suggesting a suffocating lifelessness.
Jasmine Seller’s dress collection was similarly dainty with gauzy fibrous overlays demonstrating hoe delicate felt can be. Pleated detailing one side of the dresses created asymmetric puffy shapes that cloaked the models like chrysalises.
Camille Hardwick had clearly contemplated the structure of knit for her collection.
In searing shades of coral striped with turquoise, this was netting rather than knitting with mesh and wool questioning each other’s configuration. She layered the transparent blue and orange lettering, synthesising the different textures of the fabric.
Many collections hinted at Kingston’s equestrian connections with belts, buckles and saddle bags. Kanrawee Vechiboonsom’s collection used the satchel style to augment a sense of asymmetry. Her uneven smocking prolonged the imbalance while adding depth to the garments.
Kingston showed itself to have a nuanced approach to menswear with another subtle collection from Juan Spade.
Though mix of shorts, tee-shirts and coats confused us a little as to what season the clothes were intended for. The disintegrating effect of Juan Spade’s intricate jet black devoré left us feeling as though we were watching the fabrics gradually fade away. His broad black textured leather jackets were beautifully cut and created sophisticated silhouettes.
Kingston University’s graduate catwalk show was, overall a distinctly grown up affair. The influence of their specialism, outerwear, was clear from the start and their historic association with saddle makers manifested itself in subtle and considered ways.
All photographs by Charlie Lee Douglas