The three collections that swept the board at the Graduate Fashion Week 2015 awards show.
Hannah Wallace, Manchester School of Art
The George Gold Award and Creative Catwalk Award
There was a sense of futuristic drama to 24-year-old Manchester School of Art graduate Hannah Wallace’s menswear collection, which scooped both the Creative Catwalk Award for artistic innovation and impact and Graduate Fashion Week’s top prize, the George Gold Award and £10,000.
Wallace took classic streetwear-influenced sporting shapes, such as wide shorts layered over athletic leggings, fitted balaclava-style hooded tops and zip-through quilted jackets, and subverted them to create silhouettes that lent a dark, otherworldly aspect to the range.
The recent graduate’s standout armour-like outerwear pieces looked like space-age mutations of the classic sportswear padded jacket. Superb pattern-cutting created oversized quilted and exaggerated panelled sections in graphic patterns, constricted by complicated drawstrings, zips and oversized cords that pulled the pieces into unusual yet interesting shapes.
Her bold use of fabrics and clever manipulation of prints also impressed, ranging from eye-catching silver metallic and raw-edged meshes to abstract photography prints.
Melissa Villevieille, Edinburgh College of Art
Womenswear Award and Catwalk Textiles Award
The second graduate to scoop two awards this year was Edinburgh College of Art’s Melissa Villevielle, winning both the coveted Womenswear Award and the Catwalk Textiles Award for outstanding use of fabric with her stunning Gallic-tinged collection.
Villevielle offered a broad range of pieces, including sparkling embellished knits, an eye-catching zip-front maxi skirt and directional takes on classic structured jackets, one featuring unusual oversized enveloping sleeves and another with dramatic floor-sweeping front panels. The real show-stopper, however, came with the final dress: a drop-waist tulip shape with plunging neck line and elegant oversized skirt embellished with French phrases.
Breton stripes added to the French feel, but it was Villevielle’s creation of these that gave her collection its edge and helped it win the textile prize. Rather than simple, classic printed stripes, clusters of shimmering jewels were glued together in thick formations to create a glamorous update, while unusual raffia-like textiles created a graphic monochrome stripe.
Ella Nisbett, Nottingham Trent University
Menswear Award and Stuart Peters Visionary Knitwear Award
Of the 25 finalists at GFW’s Gala show, it was unusual to discover that 14 of them were menswear designers in a competition usually populated by womenswear specialists. As a result, competition for this year’s Menswear Award was tougher than ever, thanks to so much talent taking to the catwalk. The prize was awarded to Nottingham Trent University’s Ella Nisbett, whose jolly and colourful knit-focused range also won the Stuart Peters Visionary Knitwear Award.
Deft use of unusual colour combinations, such as pretty summery pastels with rich red and warm orange, were a breath of fresh air on the catwalk, worked in varying sizes of stripes across voluminous high-waist pleat-front trousers and round-neck or roll-neck raglan-sleeve jumpers.
The delight was in the detail, however, as various complicated knit techniques were combined across the same garment. For example, stripes were often ribbed to give unusual textural interest, while a fun floral motif appeared in several guises, particularly bonded onto the top of fabrics in interesting formations.