Knitwear was particularly strong at this year’s RCA’s Graduate Fashion show whether it was mens or womenswear. In an island known for its strong heritage of woollen mills and craft hand-knits, the young designers took design to new limits.
In a year when Burberry has just announced a major programme of scholarships to be awarded over a ten year time frame to the most talented applicants, in a range of design and fashion disciplines, it’s clear that former graduate, Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer of Burberry, isn’t forgetting his roots or his gratitude to the College that launched his career.
Stand out head and shoulders was Lucy Hammond’s collection. With her experience at Sister by Sibling, Lucy’s collection (also using Swarovski Elements) shone with its use of burnished gold and pewter metallics, tones of tangerine, ochre and aubergine, tassells and flowing lines – commercial, creative and with tinges of ancient Egyptian elegance, the mix was all there. If Missoni doesn’t snap her up, there’s no justice.
Samantha Bushell’s collection also focused on long, linear forms but with hints of Mondrian colour blocking and a tinge of sophistication akin to the late Jean Muir. Shapes were largely free form and comfortable with either shorts and loose, large pocketed cardigans, cardi-dresses, wrapped and tied and a body skimming knit dress to end. Shades of red, black, grey, yellow and lilac dominated.
Rachel Hall created 3D knitwear forms with strong coloured graphics and identity. The collection was Indian Raj meets 1980s street prom queen and it rocked with energy and light.
Over with the menswear collections, Alexander James’ sharp tailoring combined knitted elements worthy of Brioni. This was sleek luxe tailoring and as svelte as any Tom Ford offering.
Benedicte Holmboe’s collection of urban savvy, layered knits piled on the attitude with A class style. Focusing on muted blacks, creams and greys, Holmboe’s sophisti-gangstas were of the Jermyn Street variety.
The RCA’s graduate talent is unquestionable. Now we can’t wait to see what happens to their careers from here on in.