Ravensbourne at GFW15: A pendulum swinging between extreme themes
Showing last on day one of GFW 2015, Ravensbourne College provided a much needed shot of adrenalin to the bleary eyed audience. The show provided a fun fair ride swinging between kitsch, garish collections packed full of colour and volume, and sombre deconstructions that glided ominously down the runway.
This shift was so dramatic that it left the slightly overwhelmed audience leaning in for more. One of the more avant-garde groups to present at GFW 2015, the show was packed with over the top silhouettes, theatrical concepts and a few cheeky surprises thrown in for good measure.
All Images by Alexandra Cryle
Opening the proceedings in a flash of blinding white light was Rosamund Phoebe Stevens’ ‘Carry the Weight’ collection. Inspired by mountaineers of the days of old, Stevens chose to highlight utility and function of her outerwear collection by keeping it free of colour. Half hidden backpacks and rolled and fastened section like that of a tent drove home the adventurous themes. Textures did the talking with various materials showing the cutting and tailoring skills of the designer. The silhouette of the leather cape, puffer coats, and buckles and zips that cinched otherwise bulky garments together were executed so well that any use of colour would have been a unnecessary distraction from the craft. Rosamund Phoebe zips evoked the constriction of a straight jacket- another theme that was popular among this group of graduates: the asylum.
In contrast to these ice cold creations, Miranda Standford’s S.T.A.U.N.C.H series was all frills and frivolity.Intricate beaded details wove through bolts of tulle and floor length pastels, with the relaxed boho fit possibly inspired by 70s trends. Accessories that brought glittery hints to an already richly diverse selection of materials and tones completed the collection.
Pop art met bold 80s and 90s silhouettes in Saung Lamin’s ‘Formally Mad’ collection. Rouged and ruffled, solid primary colours brought a playful relief from the darker elements of the show. Up close the prints showed incredible attention to detail and a sense of humour, finding fashion in the banal and basic. Prints were equally effective from afar; they balanced with the blocks of hues successfully.
Deconstruction was a strong theme for this year’s graduates. Several collections, in particular the menswear designs, seemed to have torn apart and unravelled before being put back together. Esther Kubisz described the erratic lines sewn across the well tailored garments as a “pinstripe on a walk”.
In one blazer they seemed to be leaking out of the seams. Crumpled umbrellas and wind blown newspaper hats made what appeared to be a comment on the deterioration of the corporate world, rather than the original intention of representing interaction within crowds. Perhaps the stock exchange soundtrack gave the wrong impression?
Tian Wang’s ‘We Didn’t Start Here’ was an eerily curated collection with half constructed outfits and garments mixing a variety of materials. Each outfit became a character whose story was told in the fine details,. Margiela-esque masks added to the sinister atmosphere while each model walked with open suitcases displaying “a key to unlocking the past”. Patchwork in its approach – the remnants of tweed blazers, fur coats and other broken garments hung off the models.
Closing for Ravensbourne with all the attitude they could muster, Katie Homer’s cross-dressing models stormed the stage in sensational costumes. The distinctly feminine silhouettes were moulded around the models as they masterfully marched the catwalk in perilously high platforms. Swathes of dusty and bubblegum pink, purple and speckled foam were scrunched and pinned into sculptural outerwear. It could easily have come across as gimmicky, but it was obvious that the concept and its execution were genuinely intertwined. And the audience couldn’t get enough.