On Saturday May 17, 2014, Couture Troopers had the privilege to witness the works of the graduating fashion design degree students from LASALLE College of the Arts – one of Singapore’s top art college in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London.
Text by Jessica Ye | Photography by Felly Loi
Staging a fashion show at Audi Fashion Festival 2014 for the second time since 2011, LASALLE College of the Arts turned up the heat with an impeccable presentation of fashion design finery to a full-house audience at the LASALLE Degree Fashion Show 2014 “Between Worlds”.
Partnering L’Officiel Singapore magazine, the show shone the spotlight on 20 best collections from this year’s batch of graduating degree students in the Fashion Design course.
Focusing on the categories of Creative Pattern Cutting, Menswear, Womenswear and Fashion Textile, the show kicked off with a stunning entree of collections clustered under the “REPLICA” series.
Specially crafted in response to the market and industry’s growing demand for advanced pattern and dressmaking skills, these graduating students were put to the challenge through an in-depth analysis of the apparel construction techniques required in the replicating of top-notch designer pieces. These include the headlining Viktor and Rolf’ collection from Spring/Summer 2010 as well Balmain’s collection from the same season, which was designed in homage to the late music maestro Michael Jackson, to name a few.
CREATIVE PATTERN CUTTING
Ong Yun Yu
Replica / Chloe Resort 2014 Collection
Reproducing the “barefoot sensibility” by channeling the ethos of Chloe Resort 2014 collection by Claire Waight Keller, Ong Yun Yu displayed a well-versed tailoring and patternmaking skills with her take on the collection.
Silhouettes were kept slouchy, with ample legroom. Styling was kept to an effortless-minimal. Models were exuding a free-spirited attitude while strutting down the runway.
In essence, this collection is made for a woman who accepts her perfect imperfections. She is one who would wear these clothes, carrying them off with a relaxed self-confidence of her own unique style.
Lee Zhu Er
Replica / Yohji Yamamoto Fall/Winter 2009 Collection
For anyone familiar with Yohji Yamamoto’s designs, one would know that he is one designer who loves juxtaposing avant garde silhouettes whilst concealing the wearer’s form with a mastery in tailoring.
In order to replicate his Fall/Winter 2009, design student Lee Zhu Er built her collection on a detailed research on androgynous dressing – questioning the physical and psychological difference between the body of men and women.
At the same time, she had to come up with her stance against the burgeoning issues on gender and the opinions from our society on that matter.
The final presentation at the show demonstrated a well-balanced mix of sleek flat patternmaking and a careful reproduction of ruching details in order to achieve a tightly draped look. A precise take on loose coats with large stylised lapels is apparent as well.
Lim Mei Jun
Replica / Balmain Spring/Summer 2010 Collection
Heralded as the collection that paid homage to the King of Pop, the late-Michael Jackson, the Balmain Spring/Summer 2010 collection by Christophe Decarnin was the epitome of the chic rock ‘n’ roll style.
By embarking on this collection, design student Lim Mei Jun dedicated a huge chunk of her attention to the fit of the skin tight leather pants, as well as military-style button closures and the exaggerated shoulders of the jackets.
Like the original collection, she also managed to infuse the use of metal mesh to construct tops and dresses, creating a shimmering metallic gleam effect for the knee-length Grecian draped dresses.
Replica / Jean Paul Gaultier Spring/Summer 2012 Collection
Evoked by her fascination with Jean Paul Gaultier’s relationship with musicians and their art, design student Patrilsnandar’s graduating collection is an ode to the designer Jean Paul Gaultier as well as the late-songstress Amy Winehouse.
Resonating around a cross-disciplinary study on fashion and music, Patricia managed to infuse stellar dressmaking ability with well-constructed bustiers, corsets and a relationship with lace and soft satin – typically challenging fabrics to work with.
Nothing short of glam and dramatic, the pop of glaring red amidst the whites and blacks is certainly a welcome as a stance between the idea of being sexy and formal at the same time.
Replica / Comme des Garçons コム・デ・ギャルソン Spring/Summer 2012 Collection
When the first look from design student Fonnis Choo’s take on Comme des Garcons Spring/Summer 2012 collection emerged on the runway, there was a quiet yet apparent shift in the atmosphere – the vibe became more surreal as the model wearing a cloud-like headpiece came walking through.
Queer and compelling, it is obvious that the challenge in replicating this collection entitled “White Drama” lies in the technicality of sculpting the headgear as, well as constructing the structure of the dresses and producing the controlled drama in detailing on the start of the sleeves as well as on the shoulders, defying conventions at every turn.
A thoroughly beautiful reenactment of the ethos and genius of Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo – with representations of the stages of life through birth, marriage, death and transcendence.
Janice Nerissa Suyanto
Replica / Balenciaga dresses from 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1965 collections
A throwback to about 50 years ago, it was an eyeopener to witness the sheer mastery of Cristobal Balenciaga, who was purportedly “a couturier in the truest sense of the word”, as quoted by Coco Chanel.
Through design student Janice Nerissa Suyanto’s replication of his works, we were able to envision the immense cultivation of Balenciaga in terms of garment construction and his contributions to the changes in the women’s wardrobe during the post era of World War 2.
After all, Balenciaga did stood first in the Golden Age of Parisian Haute Couture, where his 1950s works demonstrated the reshaping of the women’s silhouette and his 1960s works showcased a sculptural purity that lifted his works into the arena of art.
Study / “The Mirror Stage” Fall/Winter 2014 Collection
Using only the black and white as the overall colour palette, the duality of a mirrored self and a real self is represented in this collection by design student Shi Wen.
Taking cues from the hit ballet Swan Lake which entails the transformation of the white swan to the black swan, the six-piece collection engages viewers with an array of different fabrics, contrasting them with a mish-mash of straight cuts and bias cuts on long bellowing gowns, complete with a cape that is almost heroic.
If anything, I personality felt that this collection scores on it’s ability to exude both softness and vulnerability, as well as a confident and controlled stance at the same time.
Sandra Chan & Hwe Ling Budidharma
Replica / Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2010 Collection
Definitely one of the biggest highlight of the day, the collection of design students Sandra Chan and Hwe Ling Budidharma took on one of the most advanced and difficult collection to produce to date – Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2010 collection.
Fond of working on themes such as fantasy and satire in fashion, the duo managed to reproduce the gravity defying garment structures through a precision in cutting, impeccable quality in finishing and the immense sections of gathered tulles in a way that is only seen in the couture world.
And to jazz things up a little, they even sent down a pair of kids in a children size of the original Viktor and Rolf dresses – in beautiful pastel pink and glowing yellow, complete with gathered tulle and a monochromatic colour-block effect on the bodice of the dresses!
Truly an exceptional take with a twist!
MENSWEAR | WOMENSWEAR | FASHION TEXTILE
The second half of the show saw the emergence of creative thinking through original concepts and designs from the graduating fashion design degree students.
Gong Ye Hua
“Mid Rhombus” Fall/Winter 2015
The first menswear collection to appear on the runway, “Mid Rhombus” Fall/Winter 2015 collection by design student Gong Ye Hua was inspired by the long coats of the Middle Eastern costume in the 1930s.
Accented by a consistency in the geometrical rhombus shape on the quilted panels, the looks were designed to give off a conservative impression, which was mirrored in the clean cut finishing of the garments. Though simple and minimalist in muted colours, the collection is a refreshing entry to the show, bringing about an oasis of calmness to the high-adrenaline show.
In fact, renowned fashion show director Daniel Boey, who was in the audience, loved the collection so much that he even wore the quilted coat, shirt and pants right off from the runway for the Parco Japan Dresscamp fashion show later in the day.
“Bunai” Fall/Winter 2015
Influenced by the women of the Hmong tribe of Vietnam, their way of life as well as the fine craftsmanship of their handmade clothes and jewellery, the “Bunai” collection by design student Paridhi Jaipuria portrays a cultural freshness with chic and modern aesthetics portrayed in apparel, as well as patchwork document bags, sling bags and clutches.
With hand woven and intricate beading detailing in throng, this collection complete with relaxed silhouettes, clean lines and careful detailing would make for a look that is suitable for a complete luxe resort getaway or a cruise look.
“Clover” Pre-Fall 2014
Driven by a manga, “Clover” by Diana Lesmana tells a story of a dystopian future where the government is looking to control a race of children.
The sporty vibe juxtaposed with the lush usage of wool and soft tweed-like fabrics in boxy silhouettes, as well as slinky jerseys bring about the idea of comfort and a childlike wonder that is transcended by vibrant yellow headbands, functional round-edge pockets and large rounded gold buttons.
Textile Design: Melanie Chin
“Point, Instead” Spring/Summer 2015
Blending modern pixel art with loose silhouettes for men, “Point, Instead” by design student Chung Min-Tzu is a collection that seeks and provides stillness in this hasty world through clean outlook with pastel undertones and boxy silhouettes.
Using materials such as cotton jerseys, silk crepe, cotton linen and complimentary digital pixel prints on minimalist blazers, deep v-neck vests, shirts and pants, the final presentation instills an organic feel accented with a futuristic touch that helps to provide a sleek and elongated look for men.
Textile Design: Divya Ajmera
Jewellery Design: Salut De Miel, Matthew Leong
“Sutra” Spring/Summer 2015
With a bed of pastel pinks and blues, “Sutra” by Hafizah Ghazali is inspired by beachwear of the 1930s. Interpreted by soft flowing silk fabrics and sharp tailoring, the collection introduced a modest alternative take on the bearing of waist to meet the sea breeze.
Cue in long and loosely fitted duo-toned skirts done in colour block fashion, an elegant piece of collarless boxy jacket with textured silk that gives off a shine that is likened to a pearl, the infusion of the turban trend and the infusion of statement tasselled necklaces chained with stunning acrylic bodies.
“The Rule” Fall/Winter 2015
Religious matter has always been the heart of issues concerning wear and the garment that we clothe our bodies in, and this collection titled “The Rule” by design student Aashna Gilder answered just that.
With reference to the monks of the Order of Saint Benedict in the Catholic church, her collection examined the symbolism and paradoxes of the colour black. Call it shades of black if you may, she made sure that different types of blacks produced by the mixture of material type, from leather to luxurious and decadent fabrics, give off an edgy yet elegant look that represents the minimal austerity of the Benedictine robes.
As a finishing touch, fanned-out headbands were added to the models, creating a look that is likened to the thorn crown that Jesus wore.
“Utilization” Fall/Winter 2015
The utility blazer is a common and practical piece of apparel worn by construction workers and plumbers alike, featuring multiple pockets and functional zips that helps to protect the wearer in rather high-risk working environments. It represents labour, hardwork and sweat by these workers who slogged day to night. It is a product of necessity.
By developing a dedicated hindsight and insight that maintained the core design principle of Classical Subversion, design student Hu Lin’s “Utilization” collection placed the utility blazer as a focal point.
Blending the idea of functionality and classic tailoring, elements of the utility blazer were adapted as detailing on long, sleek coats and fitted shirts, albeit finished with metallic zippers, stitched plackets and a reinterpretation of the safety harness belts as a sleek belt cinched at the waist.
Topping them all, a work helmet that comes equipped with a head light for easy maneuvering in dimly lit places.
“Victor/Victoria” Pre-Fall 2014
An interesting exploration on the concept of the ‘Animus’ – the Man in the Woman, “Victor/Victoria” by design student Allegra Lee provided a relatable rationale on female empowerment and the status of women in today’s contemporary society.
By juxtaposing sharp tailoring as elements of masculinity alongside the sensual beauty of the female body through sheer lace and tulle, she has effortlessly championed the drive and determination of women in a work force and how these women are able to do the jobs that once belonged to men in a way that is equivalent, if not, better.
“The Empress’ New Clothes” Spring/Summer 2015
Despite what the title says, do not expect to see dowdy royal getups or extravagant gowns worn by those typical empresses. Instead, this collection by design student Faye Chan prides itself for being an ode to the iconic Kate Moss herself, basing the concept on a translucent slip dress that she wore in the 1990’s.
Pleated satin fabrics, translucent mesh and organza were jot by highlighter orange and neon green that were purportedly infused as a reflection of the era, liberating the body and mind in a way that conveyed the confidence and self assurance of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin.
A seemingly sportswear-inspired silhouette and draw string details paired with socks and flat platform sandals makes for an outfit style that is chic, modern and functional.
“Surf Gyre” Pre-Fall 2015
Done in collaboration with textile design student Charlotte Lim, “Surf Gyre” by design student Chikawama is a modern menswear collection that is inspired by the surfing culture. In essence, it represents the voice of youth expressing their independence.
With specially created textiles in tow as well as pairs of rubber-soled crocs shoes worn by the models, the collection looked to the forces of nature in the sea, specifically the shark as the main graphic element, designed to provoke the mind with a predatory imagery and create maximum impact with a set of optimised colour palette and straightforward visuals at the same time.
“Cathertus Aura” Fall/Winter 2014
Be it as a form of sexual seduction or just to show the ferociousness in character, feathers and furs are essentially animalistic elements that engulf and contrive as an extension form of the human body.
Inspired by that analogy, “Cathertus Aura” by design student Nithya Nanayakkara took cues from the fierce posture and fearless countenance of the vulture. The highlights of this collection would have to be the multi-hued feather coat as well as a covered clutch with attached finger gloves that are shaped like the claws of a bird (below left).
“Zero Degree Crater” Fall/Winter 2015
Last but not least, “Zero Degree Crater” by Gracia Christabella took inspiration from the volcanic crater in the designer’s hometown , marrying the texture, the colour of the sand and sky in a series of boxy sweater looks and panelled pants and coats, playing with solids and transparencies.