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LCF BA Fashion Show
Michael ZhangPhotography Lucie Rox

Women on the edge and virgin brides: LCF’s graduate show

The best and brightest 2017 graduates showcase their collections

After WestminsterMiddlesex and CSM, next up on the graduate circuit was London College of Fashion, UAL. With students presenting their collections at Spitalfields Market, the show was split into six acts that explored various themes, from technology and voyeurism to politics – obviously. The giant screens that the models walked in front of provided further context, at one point displaying clips from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 film The Holy Mountain. As is expected with graduate shows there was no shortage of creativity – gold puffa coat wearing models performed spoken word, others wore concrete walls as tops, and knitted tits appeared on hats, gloves, and shoes. 


Previously working as a performance artist for Marina Abramović, Ingrid Kraftchenko started to design her collection by performing each of the characters she wanted to create. Titled Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (after the 1989 Pedro Almodóvar film) the collection explored gender power play, and archetypes of women – the Femme Fatale, Boss Bitch and Lesbian Goddess. Cue the leather clad models their ensembles often with 80s power shoulders. One look, in particular, sticking the middle finger up at Trump – “Grab them by the pussy” printed exactly where you would imagine. 


Jack Goode’s boys were an amalgamation of public schoolboys and leather fetishists, all painted up as drag vixens – “I wanted to create something that was campy, witty and with lots of sex appeal,” the designer said. And his exploration of how clothing could dictate form did exactly that fusing together the extreme femininity of club icon Amanda Lepore, with the ultra-masculine homoerotic illustrations of artist Tom of Finland. Highlights include the cinched, pinstripe jacket inspired by the corset and ass accentuating trousers an ode to the Wonderbra.


Moral outrage was the starting point for Melanie Weiai Mao, who discovered a news article about a Bulgarian bridal market where teenage girls are traded. With further research, the student discovered that it is a global practice, “A man in a Chinese village can spend 20,000 yuan (around £2000) to buy a young girl from Vietnam.” Explaining the gift wrapping and paper materials used to dress her “brides” as well as the ribbons printed with the message “virgin bride for sale”. “Women are being treated as commodities in a patriarchal society,” said the designer. And she wants her clothes to inspire you to take notice.


Tracing back old childhood memories was the starting point for Michael Zhang’s collection, titled Let’s Build a Play House. It took inspiration from the geometric outlines and exaggerated proportions of children’s drawings. Desperately clinging on to their childhood, each of the models were sweetly dressed in oversized shirts and dresses, with bows galore. The idea behind the engulfing silhouette acting as a shelter to celebrate childhood while mourning the loss of it too. “Don’t ever lose your inner child, it might be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever own,” was Zhang’s overall message.


Rather than looking outwardly for inspiration, Moon Li wanted to “express what kind of person I am” through the collection. With the idea that everyone is connected, she wanted the clothes to say “I’m influenced by you, you are influenced by me”. And by watching people on the street the print-dominated collection was born. With the large use of lycra, the idea was to show how transformative fashion can be, the material stretching and changing from one person to the next. “The prints are really normal but my garments can be special depending on the person who is wearing them.” Normality further being explored through nods to the high street – like an M&S bag switched to read Moon Li instead. 

Head to the gallery above for more backstage images from the show.