One of the shows I was most curious to see was Fashion Fringe, after discovering bits about the designers and their collections along the way. I first met them in July, when I was amazed by the personal style of Heidi Leung and the questions asked by Fyodor Golan about commercial design. Then a few weeks ago I was able to see one of the looks from each finalist and maybe a few more from Nabil Nayal who was excited to show us all of the techniques he'd developed. I've seen the progress each designer has made, yet was still unsure about how everything would appear on the catwalk, so luckily the element of surprise was not lost on the night. Seeing everything backstage in garment bags reminded me of preparing for my graduate shows back in May/June and I almost felt nervous for the finalists as you never quite know how things might be dressed or whether a model might trip in her shoes. I knew there would be a winner by the end of the night, but before that each finalist had their time to shine during the few moments their models graced the catwalk.
Fyodor Golan switched from laser-cut elements to crystal adorned pieces, showing the painful metamorphosis of a nymph being consumed by nature. Colours developed from white, interrupted by yellow and slowly became blacker with more fragmented construction.
Heidi Leung's collection was inspired by 1960s celebrity vacation photos and Orientalism, fusing the perceived ideas of Asia with her goofy sense of humour. I loved the confident use of colour and off-beat styling, which included plenty of cur-out details that could be worn instantly by many.
Nabil Nayal uses couture techniques to realise his character whose opulent mansion has burnt down, referenced in the interior-like quilting techniques and lace created by the same lacemakers responsible for Kate Middleton's dress.
Somehow we ended up on the front row, so with no heads to block my view, I duly snapped away. Each collection started to make more sense as each the models came out and I tried to take in as much as possible in the short space of time. The styling and shoes complemented each collection perfectly and I loved the flip-flop-flatforms Heidi Leung had created to inject a sense of fun plus the scultptural Nicholas Kirkwood shoes Nabil had managed to use.
See more collection photos here
I left the show feeling extremely diplomatic as it was hard to pick a favourite. I loved elements from each of the collections and after meeting all of the designers, I somehow wanted them all to share the prize. After a short deliberation from the judges, Fyodor Golan were announced the winners, joining other Fringe alumni such as Basso & Brooke and Erdem. I hope they can all manage to go onto fantastic projects and use this experience to keep producing innovative designs and fabrics, whilst balancing the business skills needed to survive in this industry. Which collection do you like the best?