MA shows are visual declarations from brilliant minds, an option for the industry to tap the keg of youth and its innovative, fresh ideas. For 2017, on election day - a day filled with news, media hysteria and an abundance of stuffy suits in the public eye - the RCA presented a remedial slap of refreshingly energetic talent and style. Shown across three floors of the Old Truman Brewery, this presentation was a declaration of politics, race and gender.First up was Zahra Sooty Hosseini, whose modern Iran-inspired pieces were entirely interchangeable. Sat centre stage in a pool of Sooty’s designs while the fashion pack took their seats, the models rose to show the versatility of the garments as a call to prayer rang overhead - dress transformed into prayer mat, prayer mat into slick hooded suit, suit into cape and back into mat for the models to pray. Particularly pertinent considering the recent attacks, Sooty’s work is a reminder about the way Islam is so often misconceived in the western world.The gong of call to prayer became a singing fog horn as Michael Stewart’s ladies of the moor stepped out. Cut on the bias, Stewart’s designs are all about drawing the eye to the hip. Henry Moore inspired hand-made wrist and waist cuffs hugged the body and drew attention further to those sumptuous lines. One thought of sculpture, of Heathcliff and of Hans Bellmer. In a world of Kardashian silhouettes, Michael Stewart offers a beautiful alternative.Innovative knitwear from Verity Germer challenged our comfort zones with thick and thin ribbed sleeves and oversized pinch pleat shoulder, Aubrey Wang’s fishbowl head ornaments, silver trousers and plastic bag stripes nodded to a fun future of fashion with a nineties twist, Colin Horgan’s Tekken and Gladiator inspired women came in iridescent and holographic patent strips and black oversized flares, showing the viewer his women are ready to take on the world and Jennifer Koch’s vivacious models danced and sprang about the stage in their shimmering candy coloured metallic tracksuits, throwing fortune cookies toward the audience. (Each of which cleverly had Jennifer’s contact within.) Amongst all the fantasy and frivolity these designs shone as covetable and marketable items.Fabien Kis-Juhasz took a torch to the generic horror film female stereotypes and gave them a new club-kid lease of life. Debutante was given a boozy twist with slurred make-up and nipple accessory, Grandma (retitled as The Anarchic Mother) was given chunky extra-prominent shoulders and a soft pink headscarf and the final bride came with a stomp in her buxom breasted gown complete with waxen lingerie accessories. A wonderful deconstruction of femininity as a construct.From female empowerment to manipulated menswear, Charlotte McDonald’s denim and parka-like visions had the front row leering over toe to get a better look at her techniques. McDonald had used radio frequency welding to create her distressed and structured jackets and trouser - each of which looked to challenge the way masculinity is represented.When roaming through the upper and lower floors, creativity seemed to appear from each corner as if course leader Zowie Broach had created a Willy Wonka Factory for arts and fashion. Up top, viewers were entranced by Binbin Hu’s conjoined models, each attached with a white or cream lightly ribbed dress. One thought of Ernesto Neto’s sculptures as models moved and swayed creating new shapes and shadows as they nonchalantly wagged cigarettes and vapes from fingers.Down below in the basement, Abbie Stirrup's performance saw models coated in neon slime, creating second-skin body suits in dripped neons and deep purples. Her ‘tailored gunge’ an impressive design feat.Back on ground floor, the topical themes and designs were abound. Bianca Saunders sought to define modern black masculinity with her collection ‘Personal Politics’. Bathed in a rose glow, her models carried each other in a ceremonial manner, each wearing her already highly-praised designs - lacquered beige kick flares, grey sweatpants with coral like crimping on each hip and strapped puffer jacket and crop. Ellie Rousseau’s Manchester club-kids came in rave-coloured, checkerboard and graffiti print oversized knits and jean with some models sporting Manchester’s bee symbol on their hands - particularly poignant considering the recent attacks. Models also held up political banners that read ‘Corbyn In, Tories Out’ and ‘Save our Future’ - reminding us of the uncertain times ahead.Each student, thanks to Broach’s tutelage, presented a truly wonderful presentation of craft and performance that emblazoned each student’s passion and awareness. Each offering was a finger on the pulse moment showing an impressive and deserved sense of confidence.
This week, luxury retailer Mulberry are giving away free Grayson Perry designed Balloons to the public from their Bond Street Flagship store.
The Balloons depict Perry's childhood teddy bear 'Alan Measles', designed, created and distributed in order to celebrate the opening of Grayson Perry’s 'The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!' at the Serpentine Galleries in London from 8 June to 10 September 2017.
There are limited numbers each day and there is only one week left to secure your own unmissable disposable art piece from the eccentric artist. The Mulberry Bond St opening hours are Monday-Saturday 10:00-17:00 BST and Sunday 12:00-18:00 BST.
Don't miss these beautiful gifts!
London Fashion Week Men's has begun! Every season, SHOWstudio commissions a new artist to interpret key runway looks from the current collections. For time it's artist Sally Bourke.
Bourke is an Australian-based painter whose studio career spans almost twenty years and has been exhibited widely in Australia. Her artwork is inspired by her upbringing and her portraits and scenes are an attempt to make reconciliations with her past, live in the present and imagine the future.
Head to the SHOWstudio Tumblr to stay updated with Sally Bourke’s portrayal on the LFWM collections!
Live Panel Discussions: shows that raise eyebrows, pique interest and spark debate This season, our Live Panel Discussions focus on the shows SHOWstudio deems the most relevant and conversation-worthy. Lou Stoppard and Finn McTaggart will chair panels alongside industry experts. Our panels this season will be streamed regularly at 11:00 or 17:00 BST. See our schedules for each city below:
Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY Saturday, 10 June, at 17:00 BST
Topic: Young London. How has the city's longstanding interplay between club culture and fashion shaped new designers?
Finn McTaggart, SHOWstudio editor
Lyall Hakaraia, mentor and creative maverick
Princess Julia, DJ and writer
Willie Walters, professor
Richard Mortimer, editor
See what the panelists had to say about Charles Jeffery in the live panel discussion here
JW Anderson Thursday, 15 June, at 11:00 BST
Topic: Art and Fashion. Off the back of Anderson’s Disobedient Bodies exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, we discuss the 'designer as curator'.
Finn McTaggart, SHOWstudio editor
Mimma Viglezio, creative consultant
Amnah H Knight, editor
Jenna Rossi-Camus, curator
Hettie Judah, writer
Watch the panel discuss J.W Anderson S/S 18 Men's collection and Disobedient Bodies exhibition here
Dolce & Gabanna Saturday, 17 June, at 17:00 BST
Topic: Social media and the rise of the ‘influencers’. Students weigh in on fashion’s new relationship with celebrity.
Lou Stoppard, SHOWstudio editor
Marco Bajjali, menswear student at Royal College of Art
Ben Duncan, fashion design student at University of Westminster
Natasha Ahmed, fashion promotion & imaging student at University of Creative Arts Epsom
Priyesh Patel, fashion history and theory student at Central Saint Martins
Live footage from the D&G panel discussion is now available to watch here.Prada Sunday 18 June, at 17:00 BST
Topic: This year, Prada staged their first fashion show dedicated to Cruise. This panel focuses on the changing business models dominating fashion.
Lou Stoppard, SHOWstudio editor
Mimma Viglezio, creative consultant
Karinna Nobbs, academic
Mandi Lennard, fashion PR
Trino Verkade, creative consultant
See what our panelists had to say about Prada S/S 18 menswear here
Walter Van Beirendonck Wednesday, 21 June, at 17:00 BST
Topic: This discussion considers how gay culture has impacted, shaped and changed fashion.
Finn McTaggart, SHOWstudio editor
Dino Bonacic, writer and creative director
Tom Rasmussen, journalist and drag queen
Jake Hall, writer
See what our panelists had to say about Walter Van Beirendonck's S/S 18 collection, and the issues of representation of gay and queer culture in fashion here.
Comme Des Garcons Homme Friday, 23 June, at 17:00 BST
Topic: To time with the Met’s current show, The Art of the In-Between, this panel looks at the cult of Comme.
Finn McTaggart, SHOWstudio editor
Jeffrey Horsely, curator
Conner Ives, designer
Rob Nowill, editor
Watch the panel discussion about Rei Kawakubo's S/S 18 offering here.
Raf Simons: Wednesday 12 July, at 17:00 BST
Topic: The designer as a creative director. This panel considers the role a designer can play in changing and shaping a brand, in this case, Calvin Klein.
Lou Stoppard, SHOWstudio editor
Stavros Karelis, buying director
Andrew Davis, stylist
Patrick Grant, creative director
While you wait for the panels, head to our Collections page to stay up to date with what menswear is offering for S/S 18!
Sarabande was established by Lee Alexander McQueen to support artists and designers who are creatively fearless. The foundation grants scholarships to seven of the leading universities for art and design across the UK and provides subsidised studios for artists and designers in East London.
A patron of Sarabande since 2016, Knight will be in conversation with writer and creative consultant, Mimma Viglezio, on his years of collaborating across the creative industries with leading designers such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto.
The discussion will be held 5 June 2017 at 19:00 BST. Tickets for the event are available at Eventbrite.
The event is supported by Ketel One Vodka, founding partner of Sarabande.
SHOWstudio are happy to announce that this month our fashion illustration exhibition Moving Kate will be travelling to Tokyo!
A selection of contemporary fashion illustrators and creatives have offered their own take on runway looks of model Kate Moss. More than 40 original artworks by illustrators by the likes of Jenifer Corker, Unskilled Worker and Rei Nadal are accompanied by footage of Moss from SHOWstudio's extensive archive, as well as unique 3D printed sculptures.
The exhibition will be held at The Mass, a space dedicated to the display of modern and contemporary art, located at 5-11-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, in Tokyo. Open 30 June - 31 July 2017.
Image: Suzy Platt's rendering of Kate Moss walking for Vivienne Westwood A/W 93.
Happy Birthday to the brilliant Stephen Jones!
In celebration of his 60th birthday and his forty years as a milliner, British milliner Stephen Jones will be taking over the SHOWstudio Tumblr as our latest guest curator!
Since graduating from Saint Martins School of Art in 1979, Jones started his millinery career by making hats for friends at a time when London was the centre for creativity and iconoclastic fashion ideas.
Jones will be posting about his journey and experiences through archive and unseen imagery.
In light of SHOWstudio’s recent panel discussion on the effects of Brexit on the fashion industry, Tuesday 30 May, I travelled to Shoreditch House to watch their Brexit for Breakfast discussion in the hope of gathering further opinion. Heading toward a comically placed projection of both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May haphazardly eating breakfast, I take a seat in a plump chesterfield corner piece and brace for debate. Chaired by Shoreditch House, the panel consists of menswear designer Oliver Spencer, Financial Times political leader writer Sebastian Payne and comedian Ahir Shar.
With the fashion industry contributing over £28 billion to the economy, it seems rather frustrating that when speaking about Brexit, fashion isn’t often a topic of discussion. As the panel discussion began it became apparant that this was widely felt among all panelists and indeed the audience too. 90% of people within the fashion industry voted to remain - no surprise considering a large aspect of the fashion industry is dependant on European exports, be that materials, designers, students or artisans. Designer Phoebe English stressed this frequently in SHOWstudio’s panel discussion. 'If people can't come here, it’ll be something that will be a slow detrimental impact on the fashion industry.' Oliver Spencer touches on this during the Brexit Breakfast, discussing the importance of international passage, 'they need us as much as we need them… the Italian economy is on a knife edge, if they can’t import/export to us they’re in trouble.’
In the run up to the snap general election, none of the key players have yet voiced their Brexit survival tactics, the panelists ask, are we feeling the effects of Brexit already? Spencer thinks so. Spencer feels the weakening of the pound has already begun to impact his day-to-day as well as taking a hit to big brands in America. 'Take Ralph Lauren for instance, over 40% of his business comes from discount stores such as Bicester village, he has closed two stores in New York and his rent for his Bond Street store has gone from 7 million to 11 million.' Without a grasp of the online, these top bracket brands are in considerable trouble. Sebastian Payne mentions that as Corbyn’s polls for the snap election have risen, the pound has dropped even further - perhaps not all Brexit to blame. Short term, the drop in the pound has given us a boost in tourism, with London becoming a much more affordable place to travel. Spencer claims that because of this, London is now the watch capital of the world. While this is a positive surge for the likes of Harrods and Selfridges, Soho’s boutiques and independent shops still struggle.
Payne then moves to discuss the importance of immigration, stating that unless 200,000 people immigrate, businesses will suffer. Neither politician has stated that they will support such a high number, which sends a sigh of exasperation across the panel. 'The lead indicator for a recession is immigration,' adds Payne. The murmurs of an impending recession quell the topic of fashion altogether and we begin discussing Brexit in a much larger scope - 'If we left (the E.U) in a snap there would be a 30% hole in the budget,’ says Payne. Is corporation tax an issue for the city? Should we all move to Europe? Will Theresa May get enough seats in the election?
The questions begin to retaliate from the audience, with one character offering a 'Made In England' solution to the issues of import/export. With China now too expensive for manufacturing and most items now made in Bangladesh - can we not manufacture and re-open the factories in Britain for production? Spencer mentions that Patrick Grant, the creative director of menswear brand E.Tautz, tried to do exactly this, opening a factory in Sheffield - which unfortunately had to close. This is part of a wider issue - youth favour the keyboard rather than a factory machine.
After much discussion, the panel agree that while the future for the fashion industry is indeed ominous, that the key asset this country is its creative power. With inflation and the price of everything except wages increasing, we all have to be creative to get by. 'Out of recession comes creativity,' comments Spencer. I’m pleased to see that this optimism of creativity was the result of both Shoreditch House's and SHOWstudio’s panels. A positive outlook, no matter the financial or political climes. The industry shows a passion and drive to survive.
Visit our panel Brexit: The Impact on the Fashion Industry to gauge a different perspective on the topic from the likes of Nick Knight, fashion politics consultant Tamara Cincik, adviser Munira Mirza, CEO of the UK Fashion & Textile Association Adam Mansell and designer Phoebe English.
Alessandro Michele is a master of unity. He is a conductor - bringing together different notes and rhythms in a strange but seductive harmony. Disparate decades, cultures and genres are clashed and correlated on his runway. He designs like a DJ - sampling, referencing and paying tribute, all while offering the odd scratches and unexpected beat drops that give pace and intrigue to a great set.
After yesterday’s Cruise show, staged in the imposing Palatine gallery of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, much was made of the fact that Michele really wanted to hold his runway in the Parthenon in Athens (aim big, is the Gucci motto, not only in terms of location, but also collection size - note the 115 looks). The Parthenon team seem to be the only people not currently drinking the Gucci kool-aid - they turned down the offer. No matter - the classical elements, most obvious in the gilded wreaths worn and carried by models, may have been intended to shine in a big fat Greek fashion show, but they worked just as well here in Florence. That’s because nothing really looks out of place on a Gucci runway - they are a vibrant free-for-all, a lesson in something-for-everyone. In this democratic vein, Michele nodded to the way people freely interpret brands and create their own messages and symbols based on their design heroes. He’s long had an interest in the way the internet and social media has taken the power away from brands in terms of controlling their own narrative and messages, hence why he embraced the subversive wit of meme makers, who often turn brands into jokes, for a recent watch campaign. How smart - long gone are the days where brands can dictate how their output is communicated and discussed. Dialogue now is complex, quick and audience-led. He’d nodded to this again at this show with garments emblazoned with slogans such as Guccification, Guccify Yourself and Guccy. They’ll fly off the shelves and dominate street style. But there’s more to them than surface. To misspell your own brand name is a punchy statement - one that shows supreme confidence. Gucci are the leaders of the pack at the moment, so they can afford to be so daring and tongue-in-cheek. Other brands are reaching and hoping, but Gucci are at the top looking down and playing.
‘Guccy’ sums up Michele’s Gucci - he’s taken what we all know, those illusive ‘codes of the house’, and messed with them, twisting them up with his own references, his keenest obsessions and the moods and ‘it’ items of the moment (see those ubiquitous and on-trend chunky dad trainers). He’s playing with fashion by playing with the house itself. It’s hard to criticise or parody his work when he’s doing it himself with such freewheeling joy and amusement. It must have been tempting, when showing in such regal settings, filled by great art from the masters, to try to elevate the collection and promote the preciousness of his pieces. He’d stayed away from any expected and stuffy fashion-as-art schtick and instead promoted the relevance and realness of his clothing. How refreshing.
‘Guccy’ also suggests fakery and bootlegging. It’s a popular trend at the moment to craft items that look like they could be knock-offs - see the work of Demna Gvasalia or the much-discussed collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme. After all, why let the fraudsters take the cash when you can peddle the heavy-logos and chintzy flashing looks on your own shop floor? Those eighties-esque branded leather and fur pieces made me think of Dapper Dan, who sold monogrammed statement pieces from his Harlem boutique long before brands would dare to offer such smile-raising, unsubtle items in their own stores.
There were lots of new trinkets and details on show to delight the magpie-like Gucci consumer - those darling pearl embellishments certainly delighting those on the front row, brandishing iPhones in the hope of posting an Instagram hit. But, to me, it was the closing look that said the most - it was a printed pleated skirt, worn with a branded knit and a good bag. It’s certainly the look Michele is most known for, one that has run through his collections since his first season and a style that has filtered down from his dazzling runway spectacles to the racks of the high-street. It’s also proof that, wherever his mind wanders or wherever he stages his show, a classic winning formula remains just that - once you’re on to a winner, keep at it.
SHOWstudio are exicted to announce a new collaborative project with Parsons School of Design in New York.
Launching this Sunday, this collaboration between SHOWstudio and Parsons works to highlight Parsons' current curricular focus that encourages students to look beyond the garment and traditional representation of 'collection' to include film/video, illustration, interactive design and other forms of digital publication.
SHOWstudio are thrilled to offer a prize to an outstanding graduating senior in fashion media representation in the form of a 3-month virtual mentorship with SHOWstudio founder Nick Knight, and an opportunity to be highlighted on SHOWstudio.
The winner for the 2017 collaborative project is Jihyun Myung, a South Korean born designer, whose aesthetic is centred around investigating aesthetics from alternative perspectives. Find out more about the Myung with her exclusive interview with SHOWstudio Junior Editor Georgina Evans.
Visit SHOWstudio Sunday 28 May 17:00 BST to watch the winning film alongside the two runners-up!
SHOWstudio is supporting the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival 2017!
SHOWstudio Head of Fashion Film Raquel Couceiro was invited to Canada to represent SHOWstudio. Couceiro has been taking part in a panel discussion, alongside Fashion Film Curator Niccolo Montanari and Andy Lee from the London College of Fashion School and Media, discussing the diverse and shifting landscape of the medium.
SHOWstudio has long supported the nurturing of emerging film talent, the CANIFFF summit mirros this attitude by inviting young creatives to express and explore their aesthetic through film.
Watch this space for more updates!
SHOWstudio's latest exhibition Fashion Flora is now open to the public!
The exhibition presents an explorative look at the use of flowers as a motif in fashion throughout the decades, as seen by a selection of SHOWstudio's contemporary fashion illustrators. Depicted garments have been hand-selected by Flora Starkey, one of the most exciting floral designers working today, and date back as far the 1880s! The illustrations range in style and medium and are displayed alongside Nick Knight's hand-applied pigment print 'Rose IX' (2012). Films from SHOWstudio's 17-year archive are also exhibited, amongst real flora and fauna which will feature for a limited time only, as arranged by Starkey.
Fashion Flora is open 10:30–18:00 BST Monday–Friday at 22D Ebury Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 0LU. Stop by and visit our space!
Tonight SHOWstudio will play host to a live panel discussion at Picturehouse Central as part of the London-based event The Commisioners.
As part of SHOWstudio's continual exploration into moving image the talk will include screenings of fashion films including The Seven Deadly Sins, The Worst Crime is Faking It, Girl and Political Fashion, to address the narrative that this medium can encapsulate.
To address the change in medium since SHOWstudio's inception, we will also be discussing our collaborations with some of the most influential and exciting people within contemporary fashion, as well as our continual drive to investigate every facet of the industry though not only moving image but photgraphy, illustration and the written word.
The panel will happen tonight at 18:30 BST
Launching her business in 1981, Sui is noted for her eccentric, vintage and rock and roll inspired collections. Unusually, it wasn't until she had established her brand, over the course of ten years, that she decided to produce a runway collection at New York Fashion Week. Since that point, Sui has had high acclaim with some of the worlds top models and music personel, being photographed in her clothing. This year, 2017, sees Sui and her career being celebrated in a retrospective exhibition, 'The World Of Anna Sui' at London's Fashion and Textile Museum.
Tune in to this exclusive live interview on 24 May to hear Sui discuss her career, inspirations and evolving aesthetic!
SHOWstudio are proud to support Designers Against AIDS (DAA), a project that sees designers and students collaborate on making new garments out of unsold second-hand clothes or personal vintage pieces.
This creative challenge highlights the importance of sustainability and offers another option on how to make it work. The endeavour would not be feasible without the input of designers like Veronique Branquinho, Mandy Webb, Abelone Wilhelmsen, An Buermans, Fadime Tezerdi, Catherine Costa and Danane Bazouka. They worked closely with fifth-year fashion students from St. Godelieve in Deurne to create new outfits, while art students from St. Maria in Borgerhout helped create the overall look and feel of the presentation and online promotion.
The installation showcasing the newly created outfits will open on Saturday 27 May 2017, in Pardaf, Antwerp (Gemeentestraat 8, 2060 Antwerpen, Belgium). Accompanied by online bidding on upcycled clothing, it is meant to raise proceeds for DAA's projects 'Asia Against AIDS - Back to Zero: Indonesia' and 'Youth For a Better World Online Education Center', based in Antwerp.
The search for the next edition of the project has already begun. DAA are looking fashion students and graduates aspiring to create upcycled clothing, have them photographed, promoted online, with funds being sent to the respective organisations.
Under the umbrella of creative network Beauty Without Irony, it hopes to encourage emerging creatives to participate and to educate the audience about the issues of recycling/upcycling and sustainability as well as HIV/AIDS and the need for safe sex. This year, the clothing was photographed on models Seija Mistiaen and Zoe Yoko by Alexey Shlyk and Gwenny Eeckels, with styling by Ingrid Martens and production by Ninette Murk. Follow the projects on designersagainstaids.com now!
Fashion Flora will be the latest exhibition to be held in our fashion illustration gallery space at 22D Ebury Street, opening on the 23rd May 2017!
The exhibition will explore the distinct influence that florals have had on fashion the throughout the decades. Featuring pieces commissioned to SHOWstudio’s base of illustrators by Flora Starkey, they collaborate and produce interpretations of some of the most iconic catwalk looks from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten and John Galliano.
The installation will also feature pieces reflecting Nick Knight’s noted love for flowers. This includes his hand-applied pigment print 'Rose IX' (2012) as well as fashion films taken from the SHOWstudio archive. Alongside these prints and illustrations British flower instillations and plants take stage.
The exhibition will be open from 10:30-18:00 daily from Tuesday 23 May 2017.
Image: Comme des Garçons Homme A/W 16 by Unskilled Worker