Sara Anderson by Laura Callaghan.
Every now and again fashion week throws up something truly astonishing that I didn’t know about before… and on this occasion that honour must surely go to the unexpectedly fabulous graduate show from the Swedish School of Textiles, showing for the first time at LFW. I sat with my old intern Sarah Barnes of Uplift Magazine, so we had a good chance to catch up on the gossip before the show started to a very under capacity audience.
Stina Randstad. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Of course, it is to be expected that the crowd might be a little sparse for the first year that someone shows at LFW, but it is nevertheless somewhat bemusing to be provided with so little information about the contributing graduates; nothing beyond the flimsiest of explanations on our seats. Not even a list of designers! It baffles me that an institution would go to all the cost of sending their graduates over to the UK and then neglect the most basic of PR opportunities. To keep up I had to take photos of the projection of the back wall between collections, and then squint through them to label each designer correctly. About the individual students I know nothing more: I can’t even find a website for the college.
I had absolutely no expectations bar a pretty good gut feeling that as a former textile designer myself I was going to like what I saw. I could not have been more on the mark.
Sara Anderson and Emelie Johansson by Lisa Stannard.
The opening collection, Prepositions by Sara Anderson, was a pretty good indicator of things to come. Models strode down the catwalk in what looked like the lime and carrot angular offcuts of some 60s furniture factory mishap – great angular bulks attached to head, waist and shoulder. Glistening metallic fabrics and foiled polka dots completed the look. And instantly my interior art director gremlin was hopping up and down with excitement just thinking about what our illustrators could do once they sunk their teeth into this.
Next up was a fabulous menswear collection from Johanna Milvert. Just the right side of barking, it featured massively oversized sleeves and bulbous mismatched proportions that cocooned the models in deep orange deck chair stripes and ribbed knits. A lopsided leather man bag was a particularly individual touch.
Johanna Milvert by Laura Callaghan.
This was followed by a relatively calm collection, Efterklang by Elin Klevmar, in which the lopsided theme continued apace as the models strode down the catwalk in softly draped pebble and cream coloured loungewear.
Elin Klevmar by Laura Callaghan.
Stina Randstad’s Breed hit the catwalk in an outrageous large shouldered ruffled denim affair that Leigh Bowery would have been proud to wear. Mixing African fabrics, Scottish tartan and 80s pop art club kid inspired prints shouldn’t work but it somehow did – we need more of this kind of inspired madness at the shows. Tartan rara skirts, veil like head necklaces, knitted cockerel crests, crazy facepaint and huge superhero shaped tailoring: this collection really did have it all… and I say that in a good way.
Structure is Everything by Emelie Johansson appeared to have been influenced by coloured pencil shavings. Taking oversized accessories to the next level some of the headdresses resembled alienesque head tumours that would surely not look out of place on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. Peeking out from beneath the styling madness were some really wonderfully constructed primary coloured garments.
Another menswear collection from Jennie Siljedahl – Control Me As I Control You – showcased autumnal themed pieces in quilted golds, reds and burnt orange, all accessorised with big recycled necklaces and arm jewellery. I particularly liked the overgrown eyebrow glasses.
Jennie Siljedahl by Lisa Stannard.
Elin Sundling’s monochrome collection I Paint Myself Into A Corner featured models who looked as if they had been dragged through the cobwebs of an attic – gauzy face netting gave a sinister feel to (another) lovingly cut lopsided collection that featured some fabulous dusty and oily prints.
For sheer styling nuttiness though the prize had to go to Ellinor Nilsen with Nobodies – she sent models down the catwalk in strange eyeless masks, fake hair protruding from all the wrong places in all the wrong colours. One can only presume the models practiced beforehand by counting their steps, for it all went off seamlessly. Beneath the amazing masks knitwear and tailoring took inspiration from the hairy fuzzy scratchy parts of bodies. Particularly odd was a hair print dress. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Charlotta Mattson’s dark collection was perhaps most instantly notable for her angular neck adornments that echoed the theme on many other catwalks this season, but I also particularly liked the use of swirling linear black on white prints that encased legs, head and fabulous shoes. Oh and did I mention the fabulous shoes? Fabulous they were.
Hommage featured bulky pants, cowled hoods and bleached floral prints on menswear from David Soderlund, all accessorised with giant resin scorpion jewellery. An open shirt over bleached print jean shorts held up with red braces was a particularly strong look.
Finally Helena Quist showed a kimono and kaftan inspired collection in which the colouring was particularly strong. Stripes, overgrown pompoms, metallics, tassels and block prints jostled together in a stunning combination that closed the show.
I hope the Swedish School of Textiles will be back next year. Somehow I don’t think they will have any trouble packing out their second show… but please please sort out your promotion. NONE of these students has a proper internet presence; not one functioning website that I could find. Shocking in this day and age.
Charlotta Mattson, David Soderland, Elin Klevmar, Elin Sundling, Ellinor Nilsen, Emelie Johansson, Fashion Scout, Freemasons' Hall, Graduate Show, Helena Quist, Jennie Siljedahl, Johanna Milvert, Kayleigh Bluck, Laura Callaghan, Leigh Bowery, lfw, Lisa Stannard, London Fashion Week, Sara Anderson, Stina Randstad, Swedish School of Textiles, Uplift Magazine
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