Clothes Show Live: Olympus Pen Emerging Designers

Following on from Saturday’s first blog on Clothes Show Live 2014, we also grabbed a front row seat at the Olympus Pen Designer Catwalk, hosted by Hilary Alexander, which showcased ten individual graduate talents who have studied at Birmingham City University, London College of Fashion and Bath Spa University, to name just three. Some of these names might be familiar to those who truly have their ear to the ground when it comes to emerging talent, showing at Graduate Fashion Week and making it to the finals of Vogue Talents x MUUSE competition. The future is bright for these ten emerging talents - learn their names now.


Natasha Somerville from Central St Martins began the show with striped materials manipulated into graphic shapes. Body con dresses are paired with thigh high boots, or alternatively, muted pinstripe bikinis are topped with multicoloured ruffle jackets in bin-liner-like fabrics.


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Louise Annis from the Royal College of Art followed with her collection of white and red power dressing, all exaggerated shoulders and cinched waists, made modern with crop overlays and patent shoulder seaming.


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Painterly prints followed from Anna Ross, another LCF alumna. Body con dresses were cut high at the thigh, the two-piece looks either sporty tracksuit or more two-piece suit. Metallic body suits were standout looks in the collection, rendered in royal blue and silver or acid green and Angel Delight pink.


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Things were toned down a notch thanks to Pariss Dowe from Birmingham City University, the young designer working in a palette of cream, caramel and coffee. Oversized cocoon coats and bomber jackets were layered over soft cotton shirts, in a collection that screamed comfort, yet maintained quirky touches with cute prints and chiffon pleats.


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Perhaps inspired by the recent logomania for all things branded, Eujean Cha (University for the Creative Arts, Epsom) burst onto the catwalk in a flurry of barcoded brights, enticing sweet slogans and silver foil leggings. Moschino, Ashish…is Cha next? Her green Pringle caped t-shirt (stay with me) altered with distinctive double cs over Mr Pringle himself was a highlight, with witty necklines echoing those of Malteaser cardboard clasps.


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For the minimalists among us, Daisy Jet Thornton of Norwich University of the Arts designs modern Victoriana in a chic monochrome palette. High, stiff collars, ankle length skirts and billowing movement made for dramatic silhouettes, all the more moody with Thornton’s highly unlucky umbrellas.


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Remember BFW13’s Jylle Navarro, with her sci-fi inspired knitwear and alien headpieces? Meet Birmingham City University’s Charlotte Armistead, who sent models down the runway in highlighter bright knitted bodysuits and cartoonish balaclavas. The fleuro knitwear was teamed with acid-wash dungarees, 90s style geometric prints and knitted ‘Hulk hands’. One to watch, for sure.


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Grace Weller prized elegance in her collection, designed during her time at Bath Spa University. Sheer black mesh and lace evening gowns were brought to life with red floral appliqué, all over bodices as well as peeping out from under skirts on mesh leggings. Weller’s mastery of material techniques is sure to see her go far.


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Gina Atkinson (University of Westminster) anchored bold blocks of blue and yellow with graphic black stripes on an all white background. All looks were at least calf-length, but retained a sporty feel through racer stripes and clean lines, waistless coats over minimally fitted dresses topped with sweatshirt collars. The look of 2015? We’ll see.


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Lastly, James Kelly from Royal College of Art used feathers for a woody collection in khaki, moss and stone. The opulent trimmings sprouted from macs, tweed two-pieces and knitwear, giving military style a softer touch. Dark and delicious, make those feathers faux and I’ll place my order.


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Isabella Silvers

Online Editor


Images: Clothes Show Live