London Fashion weekend was busy for the graduating students of MA Fashion. It started with the show on Friday marking 22 years on the Fashion Week schedule. Nineteen designers were selected to share their collections on the catwalk.
Penny Martin, Editor-in-Chief of The Gentlewoman, had the task of choosing this year’s recipient of The L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award. Previous winners have included Matty Bovan, Craig Green, Christopher Kane, Kim Jones and John Alexander Skelton among others, and for 2018 the award is shared by Rebecca Jeffs for her womenswear collection and Olaf Tavares Vieira for his Menswear.
The collection developed through an exploration of the semiotics of the ‘feminine’, I was curious about the lending of gender to existing material objects, such as the kiss-clasp of a lady’s purse, hair clips or fishnet stockings.”
Rebecca Jeffs, L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award Winner 2018
Two key words for my collection were ‘hara’ and ‘utilitarism’. The clothes are based on body pose which comes from hara and implies total relaxation: the knees are bent, belly out and the shoulders are dropped. It questions the westernised body as a starting point of making clothes.”
Olaf Tavares Vieira, L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award Winner 2018
But this year’s presentation from MA Fashion extended beyond the annual catwalk show. On Saturday and Sunday the Welsh Chapel opened its doors for the first showcase of five MA FASHION PRESENTS. The entire graduating class of 2018 across the four pathways Womenswear Menswear, Textiles for Fashion and Knitwear, exhibited their collections on the dance floor. “We chose The Welsh Chapel because of its central London location and because many of us know it as the former Limelight club,” says Course Leader Fabio Piras, “models led a dance floor procession throughout the club across the mirrored dance floor and to the balconies. They danced for hours.”
Each showcase featured an edited selection of garments, choreographed and presented with specially-selected DJ sets including Princess Julia, Max Allen, Jeffrey Hinton, Reba Maybury, Julie Verhoeven, designer Matty Bovan and walls crumbled as the resounding sound of Larry B closed the Saturday 9pm show. This is the first time MA Fashion has collaborated with set designer Simon Vincenzi – who transformed the derelict church into a disco club stage, partly inspired by Zoo the professional dance crew who were employed by Top of The Pops in 1980s.
In this landmark move by the MA Fashion course, the challenge has been to provide a fresh take on the catwalk that goes back to the art school and clubbing roots of fashion at Central Saint Martins.
Alistair O’Neill brought the vision together: “Innovating and preserving how we present our students’ work is integral to preserving the integrity and respecting the traditions out of which our course emerged.”