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11th September 2012

On The Front Line of Fashion

Emma Williams and Elizabeth Harper discuss their visit to the Manchester College of Art’s Graduate Show

When we were asked to attend the Manchester College of Art’s Graduate Show at the Museum of Science and Industry, we jumped at the opportunity. Where better to look for the emerging talent, the freshest ideas and the current styles than right in the heart of Manchester? So off we went eager to spot the next Ossie Clarks and Sarah Burtons (MSA’s most notable fashion alumni).

Without a shadow of a doubt, the jaw-dropping moment of the show was the showcasing of two rather simplistic designs in professional and statement-like deployment. Our eyes fixated on these two fierce models, stitched and woven together intricately. One wearing an ink blue angularly-fitted, v-cut dress and the other a camel and bold blue creation, they hauntingly strutted the catwalk in unison, commanding the attention of the room with their controlled, almost inhuman strides – Tyra Banks would’ve been proud.

Amongst the dramatic and couture driven looks, the familiarity of sportswear raised its head in a few designs that represented the more prêt of the show. Tennis dresses and the more formal were injected with innovative details such as Gaga-esque exaggerated piping around the neckline and exaggerated shoulders that elevate traditional and overlooked outfits like this to a more innovative and inspiring level.

One sashaying, floor-length gown, complete with a slash neck detail and long, exaggerated sleeves would not have looked out of place in the romantic and hyper-coloured collections showcased to predict this Spring’s trends. The craftsmanship and delicate effort behind each breath taking piece was evident, and most of the detail spoke for itself as simple cuts and tailoring perfectly framed and set-off the students’ handiwork in printmaking and fabric customisation.

With our complimentary wine down to its dregs, and slightly light-headed from gaping in awe at these students’ designs (the wine couldn’t have helped this either), we left MOSI with an edge of pride. Manchester’s reputation as the urban capital is most definitely re-affirmed in showcases of raw and exciting talent like the garments presented by the students from the College of Art; with the city producing spell-binding talent like Holly Fulton, hailing from the Royal College of Art who recently caused a stir at her first London Fashion Week. It is safe to say that it isn’t time to resign the North to its grimness just yet.

We would like to thank Annie Oakes for inviting us to the exhibition at MOSI and for supplying us with insightful and crucial information and amazing photography by Peter May from the event.

The student designers showcased at the show were: Amelia Ashley, Rachel Conway, Rhiannon Buckley, Rosie Fowler, Fiona Cranston, Chrissie Taylor, Mahwish Mev, Helen O’Donivan, Sarah Dingli, Marianne Callaghan, Vikki Horderri, Hannah Badminton, Samantha Newton, Lauren Davies, Annie Oaks, Sammy Armstrong, Owen Hughs, Charlie Lewis, Milly Grimes, Cindy Angula, Elinor Mcb, Angharad Evans, Adele Mcnair, Becky Lewis, Chloe-Jace Morgan, Natalie Dawson, Melissa Lee, Ellie Rousseau, Jessica Campbell, Jodie Rigby, John Moriarty, Cat Potter, Faye Howarth, Charlotte Beardow, Alice Chan, Aimee, Heather Nicholson, Anya, Samantha Barle, Ella Woodhouse.

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