Royal College of Art is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most prestigious incubators of new design talent, and a hot seat at the MA graduate show is the place to discover the new fashion stars of the future.
Home of the world's only wholly postgraduate Fashion Department, and founded in 1948 by Madge Garland, former editor of Vogue, the School of Fashion and Textiles is renowned for its connections with big name brands and design houses, and for producing a winning roster of graduates including Philip Treacy, Julien Macdonald, Boudicca, Neil Barrett, Georgina Goodman, and Hamish Morrow – whilst others, the hidden designers, have become important contributors to other labels.
jotta’s Simon Spiteri went along to seek out the cream of the class of 2009.
Jasper Sinchai Chadprajong and Jae Wan Park were the standout designers and the strongest amongst the menswear collections. Their collections were completely contrasting, yet interesting in their own right.
Jasper Sinchai Chadprajong showed the most promise commercially – his garments could be sold as is directly to stores, which, from a buying perspective is great. Jasper adopted current trends of workwear and hunting inspirations like checks and denim cord, yet played with the silhouettes to create something young fresh modern and relevant.
Demonstrating a strong gift for tailoring, Jae Wan Park concentrated on super sharp formal wear. Creating suits in contrasting fabrics was a brave twist, but worked because of the subtle differences in the fabrics he chose.
In womenswear Johanne Kappel Anderson, Maja Mehele and Siofra Murphy were the collections which impacted in the show and left a lasting impression.
Johanne showed an understanding of the current trends in her choice of silhouette- a billowing sleeve and full torso over tapered legs. Her illustrative print designs inspired by the collective cacophony of a Magpie’s nests.
Siofra presented an interesting juxtaposition of romantic watercolour prints and futuristic silhouettes. The shape is almost insect like in it’s paneling, while the colour palette was muted and feminine, and an open back kept it sensual.
In the stand out womenswear collection, Maja Mehele presented a strong and impactful silhouette. 80s influences coming through in the strong shoulders and masculine inspired tailoring, while still feeing very new and relevant.
In the static exhibition, Chau Har Lee’s shoe designs, in particular his acrylic heels, were astonishingly innovative in their design. They are at once futuristic and fetishistic and completely justify the homage paid to Pierre Cardin. They put me in mind of the YSL cage shoe in that they are like a timeless work of art.