The recent London College of Fashion MA show, held in the atmospheric Raphael Gallery at the V&A and attended by more than 500 invitees unveiled some remarkable talent. I’m probably being overly pro-Dane here but I do think Denmark has produced some great designers lately – Peter Jensen, Jens Laugesen, Camilla Skovgaard and Louise Amstrup spring to mind – and Asger Juel Larsen’s menswear collection ‘Uncle Sam’ did not disappoint. Telling the story of blended cultures and of living in unpredictable times, as poignant and relevant then as it is now, it focused on elements of the dress and culture of North America in the 1860’s during the civil war – reflected in the name of the collection. The colour scheme was relentlessly dark, black with shades of dusty grey, very Gothic with refreshing accents of Fassbinder-esque rentboys…
The latter is completely my interpretation and probably all in my fevered imagination but altogether a very accomplished, clean and superhot collection.
Matteo Molinari was born in Belluno, Italy and studied communication, specialising in semiotics and the philosophy of the languages. He also worked as a free-lance designer for a major Italian accessory brand. His collection mixed traditional tailoring with unusual (for menswear) textile techniques such as crochet inserts. It was this crocheted tailoring that made an impact on the evening’s catwalk – woven cobwebs encircling the backs of matador tuxedos, the blouson knits and jumpers and oversized hooded jackets changing what could have looked merely well turned out into spectacularly clever with a simple and elegant twist.
Not only was his MA collection polished and mature, it also showcased his spectacle line. And scooped the Collection of the Year Award. Nice!
Tim Rhys-Evans is from Aberdovey in Wales and joined London College of Fashion MA Fashion Design and Technology Womenswear after gaining the prestigious Harold Tillman scholarship. Rhys-Evans has already created a buzz in the media after being featured in Elle for his BA collection, which won the British Fashion Council Creative Cutting Award at Graduate Fashion Week in 2008. He has interned with Gareth Pugh and more recently has worked as a pattern cutter for Jaeger. Rhys-Evans’ MA womenswear collection, which expertly mixes statement and wearable pieces instantly made you sit up straighter – clearly a stand out talent. Again evidence that there’s a definite move towards a new take on female power dressing in the air. Using the ruff as a starting point, Rhys-Evans has created striking contemporary silhouettes – centring the focus on the upper body and eliminating the neck and shoulders from view. Yet delivering a very strong and sexy shape. There was a very Catherine Deneuve in ‘Belle de Jour’ feel of severity to the overall look.
Jia Ju comes from Beijing in China where she get her BA degree at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. Before embarking on her MA in Fashion Design and Technology womenswear, she worked with the Sharon International Clothing company in China for 4 years gaining valuable industry experience. The inspiration behind her collection was one of androgyny. Yet at no point do you think ‘geezer bird’. Instead the immaculately tailored collection blurs the boundaries between what is traditionally seen as masculine and feminine, remaining fluid and poised. Combining curves and straight lines, pieces appear to be one when they are actually two and vice versa. Jackets are worn without a shirt or bra creating a sexy and feminine silhouette within the formal structure of a tailored suit. Everything looks loose and effortless yet is clearly beautifully cut. Featuring tuxedos, tails and waistcoats the collection has been made in black, navy, grey and cream. Reminiscent of those stark Helmut Newton images of sultry androgynous women in tuxedoes.
Ongun Ulker was born in Istanbul, Turkey. After having gained a number of scholarships and awards during his undergraduate studies in textile and fashion design, he was awarded the University of the Arts London International Student bursary to join MA Fashion Design and Technology Menswear at London College of Fashion.
The USP of his collection is an amazing pleated, linear panelling – both flat and 3D patterns – which were applied to the surface of the material in colour blocks, creating bold graphical effects. Whether in cloth or leather it was a stunning yet deceptively simple surface decoration.
Words by Anna Bang
All images copyright © Christopher Moore Ltd
TagsAsger Juul Larsen, Jia Ju, London College of Fashion, Matteo Molinari, Ongun Ulker, Tim Rhys-Evans,