A stark glass atrium inside The Hague’s modern City Hall was the setting for this year’s Royal Academy of Art show. Under the new creative guise of Antwerp-based, avant-garde designer Jurgi Persoons (who took up the post as Head of Fashion and Textiles just eight months ago), students from each year of the BA fashion degree put their skills to the test and exhibited collections to an audience of critics, local fans and talent scouts.
Driven by experimentation and technical innovation, the fourth year show was a standout, with eight students exploring diverse themes that ranged from light manipulation to oppression, reformation of identity and the search for wonder. We spotlight the top two…
From mundane to magic, Anthonisse’s collection elevates classic menswear garments into dreamy, storybook creations via unsual fabrics, tribal-inspired accessories and elaborate surface embellishment. Kaleidoscopic gemstone clusters liven up a slim, crushed velvet suit, tiny white seashells criss-cross over tailored trousers and supersized fringed white tassels (similar to giant curtain tie-backs) offset a checked black and gold suit.
World of wonder:
“As a designer I am always searching for wonder, because everything in life is declared and already has a reason. Real wonder is something that doesn’t exist in our society anymore,” he says of the inspiration behind the line.
Outlandish headpieces add a dramatic overtone to Anthonisse’s imaginative silhouettes – think tribal-inspired masks with probing antler horns, fringed bowler hats and a large, sculptural headpiece that was inspired by the flyaway structure of a dandelion.
Deconstructed suiting, hooded anoraks and draped veils that obscured faces and absolved identities: Visch served up a progressive and bold collection that melded lo-fi streetwear with traditional masculine separates. Unusual textile manipulation was the high point, as the Swedish-born designer pioneered bold, tonal prints that imitated sunlight shining on fabricated surfaces.
“Instead of using an aesthetic defined by hand I searched for a way to let nature define the impression. I managed to capture the different ways of light shining on clothing and make that permanent with a photographic process,” says Visch of his signature prints.
How it was worn:
In long, louche tonal layers. Padded sweaters, silky bomber jackets and hats topped off gauzy shirts, A-line skirts, slouchy tailored trousers, socks and rubber pool slides – an unconventional play on modern masculinity.
Follow Natalie Rigg on Twitter here @natalieannrigg