Wednesday the 1st of February 2017, a night that Charles Frederick Worth himself would have thoroughly enjoyed. The UCD Fashion Show launch night, held in Everleigh Garden was quite a taster for what is to come on the 15th and 16th of February. The creativity, talent and stunning designs that were showcased on the night as part of the Young Design competition were up there with the likes of Naeem Khan, John Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab etc. Thankfully I didn’t have the impossible task of choosing only 9 designs to progress on to the final, that was in the capable hands of Maria Lola Roche and Claire Garvey.
The 9 designs they have chosen?
Silvia Ortega Moyano, Dublin Institute of Design
This dress is wonderfully effeminate, taking a modern twist on an Ancient Egyptian kalasiris. This dress is from Silvia’s Eternal Nefer Collection, which is inspired by the bust of Nefertiti. The Egyptian concept of Afterlife by mummification in a decorative tomb, is interwoven throughout the collection by the use of durable, elegant, soft materials such as leather, silk taffeta, guipure lace and organza.Silvia used see through vintage fabric backed with silk taffeta, incorporating the Egyptian designs of geometrical shapes and pleating to really make this piece stand out. My favourite part of this dress has got to be the Deep V back, just watch!
Lauren Murphy, IADT Dun Laoighre
This enchanting Elizabethan style dress was designed as part of a project based on an adaption of the children’s German fairy tale “The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs”. Taking inspiration from the Elizabethan era, the German Royal family of 1550-1600 and iconic dress designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier, Lauren decided to bring a contemporary style to a period piece, creating this magnificent gown made of printed poly cotton and tulle, delicately adorned with pearls and crystals. There’s 36 meters of tulle in the skirt alone! I’d imagine even Mr Frederick Worth himself would be impressed by this dress.
Photo credits: Declan Murphy Photography
Kirsten Durand-O’Connor, Dublin institute of Design
Kirsten’s dress is creatively Bold in every sense. Firstly it’s vibrant pink colour is eye catching and immediately creates interest. On closer inspection you can see the dress literally commanding your attention, the word “Look” is emblazoned all over the fabric in deep pink writing. If that wasn’t striking enough the material allows the dress to almost bounce as the model walks down the catwalk, making sure you do not miss it passing. This is most definitely my favourite part of the dress! Kirsten’s inspiration behind these carefully chosen aspects is the self-exploitation of celebrities’ inherent today across all social media platforms. This exploitation in turn has the ability to influence style trends, ones which intentionally scream ‘Look at me’.
Karla Bowden, NCAD
The inspiration behind Karla’s piece comes from a movement in the early 1960s called Minimalism, where a wave of new influences and rediscovered styles caused young artists to question conventional boundaries between varies media. Karla’s piece was influenced heavily by Sol Lewitt’s ‘Incomplete open cubes’ artwork, the forms and silhouette of the piece are derived from the cubic shapes of Lewitt’s creations. The brilliant white colour was chosen to represent simplicity and order and brings a sense of freedom to Karla’s collection ‘White Space’ from which this piece is from. The fabrics used to create this stunning outfit were Ivory Neoprene, White cotton Organdy, White Leatherette and Clear plastic.
Photo credits: Ailish McCormack
Mairead Wall, NCAD
The main inspiration behind this piece comes from our very own little country of Ireland! Mairead was influenced by Wilder Mann, a series by photographer Charles Freger who travelled across Europe capturing exquisite images of pagan costumes which are still worn to this day during celebrations. Putting her own twist on these oversized and imposing outfits Mairead looked towards the natural beauty of Ireland’s landscape for originality. The landscape seen on the rolling Wicklow mountains inspired the sculptural, rounded silhouette of Mairead’s coat and puffy volume of the sleeves and trousers.
The attention to detail is second to none, both traditional and contemporary Irish hand knitting techniques such as the honeycomb technique were used to create the intricate details seen in the balaclava and throughout the piece. When I first saw this piece it reminded me of the structured heart shaped coat worn by Rihanna and Kendall Jenner in 2016, YSL had better watch out!
Photo credits: Anthony O’Connor
Roisin Pierce, NCAD
This piece is from Roisin Pierce’s ‘Man Repellent’ collection. One of Roisin’s main design techniques is making clean sculptural forms through a unique textile process. The inspiration behind the pieces in her ‘Man Repellent’ collection derives from the male gaze (which is the way in which the visual arts and literature depict the world and women from a masculine point of view, presenting women as objects of male pleasure) and how women overthrow this. This piece contains magnified, oddly shaped, cylindrical elements which depict the idea of women subverting the gaze by emphasising the perceived undesirable parts of their bodies. The utilisation of 3D elements in Roisin’s piece and her other collections seen here, remind me of dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen who is renowned for fusing technology with traditional couture craftsmanship in order to create a distinct version of the present.
Photo credits: Andrew Nuding
Michelle Munnelly, NCAD
The inspiration behind Michelle’s outfit is simply the act of taking ‘one selfie a day’. An act which is as integrated in our daily twenty-first century lives as brushing your teeth in the morning is! On close inspection of the piece you will see many individual selfie images fused together to form a unique fabric. A simple white net overcoat really contrasts with the piece allowing its message to be clearly evident and almost framed like an actual image. The grandness and presence commanded by the overcoat reminded me of similar arresting pieces designed by Zang Toi in his Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.
Megan Murray, Limerick School of Art and Design
The influence behind Megan’s piece was the ancient art of tailoring which was first introduced around the twelfth century. Megan wanted to reinvent the traditional approach to tailoring, thus began dismantling existing tailored garments and rearranging and re-designing them in order to create new designs. While being quite edgy her piece remains stylish and sophisticated, made 100% from heavy satin. This piece reminded me a little bit of the Ice Blue Metal dress by Alexandre Vauthier, which Bella Hadid wore at the opening of the Spring 2017 collection in the Grand Palais earlier this year.
Barbara Gorman, Sallynoggin College of Further Education
This dainty coat created by Barbara is definitely something I could see myself wearing! The coat is designed using the tie-dye technique, a modern term which originated in the US in the mid 1960s, where you fold, twist, pleat or crumple a piece of fabric or a garment with string or rubber bands and then apply dye(s). The contrasting pink and green colours dominating this piece allow it to be both elegant and ballerina-ish, while at the same time super trendy and bold. You could wear this tunic-style, swishy coat to a large variety of events and it would most definitely catch and hold people’s attention.
I most certainly could not choose a winner, all of the pieces are beautiful in their own individual right! I cannot wait to see the pieces flourish on the runway this Wednesday and Thursday at the actual Fashion Show. Tickets for the UCD Fashion Show are €12 for Students and €15 for adults and are on sale in SU Shops and directly from Models, Committee and Crew. For any additional updates check out the Facebook Page. Many thanks also to my fantastic friend, Tola, for providing me with the best company for the evening! To the finalists, 祝你幸运!