Salisa Phuwanawijak for Swedish School of Textiles by Claire Kearns
‘Twenty one designers’ I’m told by one of the PR people at the Swedish School of Textiles Show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. The familiar room feels like it is getting ready to assume the role of a sauna and I’m afraid I may melt away. So the idea of sitting through a showcase from twenty-one designers is beginning to feel a little like a punishment.
But as the first models in pastel notebook necklaces and cubed foam ensembles appear on the catwalk, buy more about my previous qualms are quelled and I excitedly snap away with my now bruised camera (I had managed to drop it on a concrete floor at another show); I’m hoping it’s not damaged internally, cure much.
Anna Lidstrom for Swedish School of Textiles S/S 2012 by Barb Royal
I’m sitting at the very beginning of the catwalk and beside me, malady on the floor, sits a hipster photographer with his fancy camera who decides it’s a good idea to poke me and demand that I move my bag. I ignore him and he shoves my belongings away whilst muttering unmentionables under his breath. I’m spouting much worse at him in silence. I’m not the only person he’s offended though; as the models take their places at the start of the catwalk, he harangues them with his personal requests “stand here,” and “look at me” and exclaims “oh very sexy!” A few of the models ignore him, but others look like they might burst in to tears. If he were not twice my size, I’d slap him on their behalf, but all I can do is stare lasers into the back of his obnoxious skull.
The never dull showcase advances and after a fantastic variety of fabrics, textures and ideas from seventeen BA students and a lustrous collection from Ida Klamborn, the MA students close the show. Anna Lidstrom is first with a collection that uses unconventional textiles to challenge the illusory ‘ideal’ female silhouette. The garments that really stand out are the accordion pleat skirt that brings to mind the common lampshade. Accompanying the skirt is a bottle green blouse made from a plastic of some kind. Taking pride of place in the collection is an eighties-esque party dress, again in a synthetic plastic like fabric. It is accompanied by the eighties essential denim jacket and a giant angular foam bangle.
Sarah Turkelsson for Swedish School of Textiles S/S 2012 by Barb Royal
Laura Clausen presents a collection that invites the audience to reflect on the concept of body modifications and deformities. She does this by offering garments that are abnormally angled or exaggerated in certain places, such as the chest.
Probably my favourite from the MA collective are the designs of Salisa Phuwanawijak. The juxtaposition of the simple and complex are evident in her collection, with her use of primary colours and her strict use of one colour per garment and yet each garment is structured completely contrary to the traditional method of working with the natural silhouette of the human body. Rather she has challenged herself to use a specific amount of pieces on each garment and has attached them in a multitude of techniques, making each garment multi-dimensional.
The show concludes with Sarah Torkkelsson’s collection of ‘moving’ garments. Playing with fabrics that have a rhythmic element to them, Sarah’s collection explores how different fabrics create the illusion of transition and expression. The dresses remind me of immense dishevelled birds. I’m not sure how I feel about them and strangely; I have the suspicion the designer intended for that ambivalent reaction.
I’m very slightly disappointed that the MA designers haven’t surmounted the BA students’ work, but although it’s been a rather long show, over-all it has has been much fun.
All photography by Akeela Bhattay
Watch the show here.
Read more about the BA students in Matt Bramford’s review here.
- Swedish School of Textiles: London Fashion Week S/S 2014 Catwalk Review part two
- Swedish School of Textiles: London Fashion Week S/S 2014 Catwalk Review part one
- London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Swedish School of Textiles BA
- Royal College of Art: Fashion Design Graduate Show 2011 review. Womenswear Accessories.
- London Fashion Week Catwalk Review: Swedish School of Textiles 2010 Graduate Show