Get the low down on Vicky Leung, The.Ran and Jiali Lu
Last night, another season of graduate shows kicked off, with students from London College of Fashion showcasing their final collections. The presentation seemed centred on different collisions; the collision of genders, of clashing prints, of the past and the present.
The show offered a glimpse at the next generation of fashion talent, with collections demonstrating a wide range of influences. While some designs felt like they’d crash landed from another planet (like Eren, whose collection wove disco into the deep sea), others, like Rong Xia, explored and dissected tailoring.
As is par for the course when it comes to graduate collections, references spanned from Pride & Prejudice and Spanish fishermen, to “Je T’aime Moi Non Plus” and intricate Persian carpets. Here we pick out our ‘ones to watch’.
Vicky Leung took us to the dry-cleaners to fetch her laundry as part of her final collection, which featured a series of conceptual tailored looks. Though she’d never worked on tailoring prior to starting on it, Leung went in hard with jackets, dresses, and trousers tacked to each other. Each look was presented beneath a transparent plastic cover, as if just picked up from the Vicky Leung laundry. “I had the idea of putting tailoring on tailoring, because one day I opened my wardrobe, and thought ‘oh my God it’s so messy,’” she said after the show. “But after looking at it a while, the way all the clothes were packed together, I really liked it and thought that it would be interesting if people wore clothes in the way I saw my wardrobe.” The result was a collection full of sharply cut tailoring with ‘Vicky Leung – Tailoring / Drying / Laundry’ motifs running throughout in a smart and humorous take on what is essentially the most mundane of chores.
Going back to nature was the starting point for The.Ran, as she married waxed linens, hefty yarns and contemporary, oversized silhouettes. “I really like natural things – natural materials, natural feeling textiles,” she explained after the show. “I was in Spain, in Mallorca, and I saw these really unique shops and found these heavy, natural yarns there, and I had this idea to use these yarns but create something in a modern style.” The garments put subtle erogenous zones on show (the shoulders, lower back, and calf), while finishing touches came in the form of woven bralettes and waspies which cinched volumes of fabric at the chest or waist, and layers of heavily crocheted fishing nets. Sexy fishermen sprung to mind...
Gender is a harsh mistress, and Jiali Lu’s collection decided to disobey. “I was inspired by the movie Pride and Prejudice,” Lu explained backstage. “I explored the silhouette from the 19th century – and this is where the puffy sleeves, gloves, and pronounced hip silhouettes came from. But then I used a lot of tailoring, to contrast, from the menswear side of things, because I wanted to bring the two together.” The collection was presented entirely black and white, merging soft, overstated detailing at the shoulders and sleeves, with sharply darted tailoring over the body. The shoes, too, took giant soles from menswear and affixed them to the bottom of lace-up leather boots or thigh high white PVC stompers. The result was a procession of harsh-looking school mistresses that walked the runway, peering over Lu’s severe handmade glasses.