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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Graduate Fashion Week: Birmingham and Salisbury

Teddy bears and cartoon characters feature in this nostalgic penultimate show report from Graduate Fashion Week, at Birmingham and Salisbury, on Tuesday 8 June 2010

Written by Jonno Ovans


Vivienne Westwood, viagra illustrated by Kerry Lemon

While things like free booze and miniature pies are thoroughly good perks of a fashion week, it is also completely inevitable that you somehow manage to end up with hundreds of bits of paper and about six half-drunk bottles of water rolling around in your bag, and sure enough by the time I reached the Ravensbourne show I had unwittingly acquired three in the space of forty five minutes. Out of all the shows at Graduate Fashion Week, Ravensbourne is the hottest ticket – so hot, in fact, that only Vivienne bloody Westwood was in the audience. We found out afterwards that she’s working on a climate change television project with the college’s media course and went to support the fashion students. Her presence proved a bit of a personal distraction during the show and I seemed less concerned about what I was thinking than what she was thinking. It was a bit difficult to tell though.
 
Judging by the pleasantly psychotic combinations of ideas on show one can only presume that the class of Ravensbourne BA 2010 took a trip to the zoo on a cocktail of hallucinogens and then sat down to design their collections. With the extensive parade of animals on show it was like the four-footed refugees of Noah’s Ark had washed up on the beaches of Graduate Fashion Week – after a more muted and minimalist BA show from Central St Martins, it was a eye-popping joy to watch, with cartoons and pop art emerging as other pungent themes. The show was opened by Bobby Charles Abley with a menswear collection that proved children’s cartoons and bondage need not be two mutually alienating concepts, even if they are more than a little disturbing when thrown together. Speech bubble printed trousers, stuffed teddy bears and hoods with animal ears were paired with bondage straps in innocuous looking primary colours.
 
While Ravensbourne is particularly well known for producing amazing digital prints, Sera Ulger’s womenswear collection featured beautifully hand painted animal motifs on silk, featuring a crow, a lemur, a tarsier and an owl with its eyes in suggestive places on a selection of mohair dresses.


 
Ravensbourne took the Menswear Award for the second year in a row with Thomas Crisp’s elegantly tailored collection of leather and velvet jackets, based on Parisian street gangs in the late 1800s.


 
Amy Addison’s designs featured digital prints, miniskirts, thigh high socks and sleeves ending in boxing gloves…

…while Jessica Holmes’s cocktail dresses were emblazoned with ducks and Dumbos.


 
We’ve also come to expect a lot of accomplished knitwear. Harriet Clinch’s retro knitwear was basically a walking seventies ski lodge – simple jumpers and a star-spangled poncho with a vast selection of different knits thrown into the mix – stripes, bobbles, fair isle and cables, accessorised with sheepskin oven mitts and even a knitted camera. 

photographs courtesy of catwalking.com

Vivienne Westwood, case illustrated by Kerry Lemon

While things like free booze and miniature pies are thoroughly good perks of a fashion week, link it is also completely inevitable that you somehow manage to end up with hundreds of bits of paper and about six half-drunk bottles of water rolling around in your bag, and sure enough by the time I reached the Ravensbourne show I had unwittingly acquired three in the space of forty five minutes. Out of all the shows at Graduate Fashion Week, Ravensbourne is the hottest ticket – so hot, in fact, that only Vivienne bloody Westwood was in the audience. We found out afterwards that she’s working on a climate change television project with the college’s media course and went to support the fashion students. Her presence proved a bit of a personal distraction during the show and I seemed less concerned about what I was thinking than what she was thinking. It was a bit difficult to tell though.
 
Judging by the pleasantly psychotic combinations of ideas on show one can only presume that the class of Ravensbourne BA 2010 took a trip to the zoo on a cocktail of hallucinogens and then sat down to design their collections. With the extensive parade of animals on show it was like the four-footed refugees of Noah’s Ark had washed up on the beaches of Graduate Fashion Week – after a more muted and minimalist BA show from Central St Martins, it was a eye-popping joy to watch, with cartoons and pop art emerging as other pungent themes. The show was opened by Bobby Charles Abley with a menswear collection that proved children’s cartoons and bondage need not be two mutually alienating concepts, even if they are more than a little disturbing when thrown together. Speech bubble printed trousers, stuffed teddy bears and hoods with animal ears were paired with bondage straps in innocuous looking primary colours.
 
While Ravensbourne is particularly well known for producing amazing digital prints, Sera Ulger’s womenswear collection featured beautifully hand painted animal motifs on silk, featuring a crow, a lemur, a tarsier and an owl with its eyes in suggestive places on a selection of mohair dresses.


 
Ravensbourne took the Menswear Award for the second year in a row with Thomas Crisp’s elegantly tailored collection of leather and velvet jackets, based on Parisian street gangs in the late 1800s.


 
Amy Addison’s designs featured digital prints, miniskirts, thigh high socks and sleeves ending in boxing gloves…

…while Jessica Holmes’s cocktail dresses were emblazoned with ducks and Dumbos.


 
We’ve also come to expect a lot of accomplished knitwear. Harriet Clinch’s retro knitwear was basically a walking seventies ski lodge – simple jumpers and a star-spangled poncho with a vast selection of different knits thrown into the mix – stripes, bobbles, fair isle and cables, accessorised with sheepskin oven mitts and even a knitted camera. 

photographs courtesy of catwalking.com


Vivienne Westwood, this illustrated by Kerry Lemon

While things like free booze and miniature pies are thoroughly good perks of a fashion week, information pills it is also completely inevitable that you somehow manage to end up with hundreds of bits of paper and about six half-drunk bottles of water rolling around in your bag, what is ed and sure enough by the time I reached the Ravensbourne show I had unwittingly acquired three in the space of forty five minutes. Out of all the shows at Graduate Fashion Week, Ravensbourne is the hottest ticket – so hot, in fact, that only Vivienne bloody Westwood was in the audience. We found out afterwards that she’s working on a climate change television project with the college’s media course and went to support the fashion students. Her presence proved a bit of a personal distraction during the show and I seemed less concerned about what I was thinking than what she was thinking. It was a bit difficult to tell though.
 
Judging by the pleasantly psychotic combinations of ideas on show one can only presume that the class of Ravensbourne BA 2010 took a trip to the zoo on a cocktail of hallucinogens and then sat down to design their collections. With the extensive parade of animals on show it was like the four-footed refugees of Noah’s Ark had washed up on the beaches of Graduate Fashion Week – after a more muted and minimalist BA show from Central St Martins, it was a eye-popping joy to watch, with cartoons and pop art emerging as other pungent themes. The show was opened by Bobby Charles Abley with a menswear collection that proved children’s cartoons and bondage need not be two mutually alienating concepts, even if they are more than a little disturbing when thrown together. Speech bubble printed trousers, stuffed teddy bears and hoods with animal ears were paired with bondage straps in innocuous looking primary colours.
 
While Ravensbourne is particularly well known for producing amazing digital prints, Sera Ulger’s womenswear collection featured beautifully hand painted animal motifs on silk, featuring a crow, a lemur, a tarsier and an owl with its eyes in suggestive places on a selection of mohair dresses.


 
Ravensbourne took the Menswear Award for the second year in a row with Thomas Crisp’s elegantly tailored collection of leather and velvet jackets, based on Parisian street gangs in the late 1800s.


 
Amy Addison’s designs featured digital prints, miniskirts, thigh high socks and sleeves ending in boxing gloves…

…while Jessica Holmes’s cocktail dresses were emblazoned with ducks and Dumbos.


 
We’ve also come to expect a lot of accomplished knitwear. Harriet Clinch’s retro knitwear was basically a walking seventies ski lodge – simple jumpers and a star-spangled poncho with a vast selection of different knits thrown into the mix – stripes, bobbles, fair isle and cables, accessorised with sheepskin oven mitts and even a knitted camera. 

photographs courtesy of catwalking.com

After trying to rid myself of the triffid-like water bottles by drinking them, ampoule after the Ravensbourne show, search I spent most of the Birmingham and Salisbury-shared show needing the loo but at least there was an incredibly strong showing to keep me entertained, with knitwear to match the best of them. Birmingham’s Thomasin Gautier-Ollerenshaw’s menswear featured balaclavas, oversized coats and jumpers with cartoon characters and catchphrases.


 
Elsewhere, the show’s opener was Angela Stead with a fairytale Alice in Wonderland-style story with a tea cup handbag, rose headpieces, lace, and a dress made from patches of shredded, leaf-like fabric. 

 
Anna Russell’s flesh coloured collection of perforated leathers on pale, doll-like models was tight-fitting and delicate, and stood out in a sea of brash designs.

There were more teddy bears from Jessica Day in a collection that looked straight out of Marina Diamandis‘ wardrobe; again, it was like somebody had fallen into a child’s dressing up box…

…As opposed to, say, Joe Turvey’s models who looked like they had emerged with the rational parts of the their brain missing from a serial killer’s dressing up dungeon. Reminscent of Dior or Walter van Beirendonck, the collection was a disconcerting mix of wearable knits and sadistic-looking leather overalls styled with chilling masks and waist-cinching belts.


 
Wiltshire College followed, with Sophie Lowe’s rural and armour inspired collection one of knitted taffeta, sheepskin, and dip dye straw…

…while Rebecca Giddings’s work featured leather, shoulder pads and welding overalls, which seemed to be a case of Robin Hood meets Flashdance (which, incidentally, seems like a brilliant idea for a film.)

Across the board it seems there’s some childhood nostalgia going on – time to get raiding the attic to see what you can turn those old teddy bears into.

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One Response to “Graduate Fashion Week: Birmingham and Salisbury”

  1. sophie lowe says:

    Hello! sorry its taken so long only just found this blog, just wanted to say thankyou so much for writting about my work!xx

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