Prints and Leather steal the show
Northampton University presented a subdued offering to GFW15 and some of the most commercial collections. In a way, the simplicity of design coming out of Northampton was a breath of fresh, ready-to-wear air. This simplicity allowed the prints and textiles that the school specialises in to take the lead. Unlike the excess of last year’s show, the 2015 students largely focused on the interaction of textile with prints and of course, the use of leather.
Showing almost reverence towards the materials, students chose to work with prints in their untampered glory. Uncomplicated by excessive tailoring, Rebekka Johnson’s delicately printed bubbles and florals perfectly matched the lightness and flow of the material. The loose trousers, maxi skirts and scarves were effortless and looked almost weightless.
All images by Mary Moir
With a 90s liquorice all sorts collection, Nyoka Francis showed us how prints can be manipulated by layering over the top of them. Busy purple, pink and blue patterns stood alone or were shown underneath mesh and jackets with transparent sections. The effect was exciting – the prints worked with each new layer to bring a different element into focus. This was also one of the few streetwear collections of GFW 2015 to be cut close to the body, a refreshing change from the oversized silhouettes we’ve seen this week.
Freddie Beeb’s collection marked a change of pace with a cracked leather outerwear collection that was reminiscent of armour in the tough shell-like exteriors, partly inspired by a beetle’s exoskeleton. As Northampton University is the only GFW 2015 school to have a tannery on-site, the bar was set high the student working with the leather Northampton is famed for. Beeb incorporated the material into several garments, repeatedly adding an interesting twist.
Be it the strips cut out of leather trousers or the half fur coat which added a soft, shaggy layer under the rigid, curved silhouette of the leather garment.
Harriet King’s use of angular shapes on top of neoprene was geometry to the extreme, with each part of the garment, including the boxy silhouettes that stood away from the body, referencing the prints. Even seams faced outwards to draw defined lines across the clothes. As a stiff, structured material, neoprene was the perfect choice for a collection that looked to emphasise a defined form.
In keeping with the theme of sculptural silhouettes, Salwa Al-Habsi’s collection was reminiscent of Marie-Antoinette in the exaggerated hips which could have easily been held up with pannier boning. Thick curves of chocolate and cream toned silk wrapped around the models to create pockets so wide and deep to the ankle that you’d lose your keys for good if you tried to utilise the theatrical compartments. Pops of bright pink on the underside of the eveningwear were a sugar sweet addition to a slightly beige collection.
Danyial Khan’s unique take on leather footwear and bags saw him working from scratch to create glow in the dark leather. The quality of production and chunky wearability of the collection mean that Danyial’s innovative work is sure to set him apart in the future. It was a shame that the full glory of the glow in the dark wasn’t achievable under harsh runway lights, an effect that would have gone unrecognised without a contextual understanding of the young designer’s efforts. Wearable technology in a way- high tech in its production and just plain cool in its delivery, assuming you’re under the cover of night that is.
Ashleigh Wise closed the show with a megawatt collection of fuchsia, orange and cobalt flecked with gold highlights. Her prints were stunning, with each part of the garment complimenting another – right down to the customised fluffy platforms worn by the models. Again choosing to work with classic styles, the curious mix of textures framed the prints without detracting from them.