Stylish imagination on show at Edinburgh College of Art's SHOW 2015

Stylish imagination on show at Edinburgh College of Art's SHOW 2015

Designer Melissa Villevieille / Credit: Gareth Easton

This year's circus of a catwalk show proves there's some real talent at ECA

Filligree fancy, kawaii whimsy, sci-fi surrealism and haughty grandeur: last night’s SHOW 2015 at Edinburgh College of Art covered several hundred bases in just under 90 minutes, with its sprawling mix of theatricality and innovation. With John Foxx, Roisin Murphy, INXS and Caribou booming out the speakers, students from ECA’s departments of Fashion, Textiles and Performance Costume presented their collections in the college’s impressive Sculpture Court.

The catwalk show began with group shows on themes including constructs of identity, shifting surfaces and contrasting cultures. The inspiration came from a tangled mishmash of disciplines and spheres, with students making design references to drawings at the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum, traditional Qipao dress and an upcoming design for the 2017 Norwegian banknote.

Solo shows by individual students followed, giving a bit more chance to enter the student’s heads for a storyboarded couple of minutes. Kiki McKenzie’s ‘You Do Not Have to be Your Mother’ collection clashed faux fur and perspex in an overblown glam / disco tribute, using trashy sequins and plastic snakeskin to throw the Vs up at conventionality.

In Rebecca Bowman’s ‘Long Live the Explorer’, a glacial white womenswear collection was offset with excellent wood and resin oversized accessories and neon climbing rope belts from Maisie Welch; and Fernanda Goodship’s electric blue range of long dresses flipped between understated silhouettes and flouncy ruffle.

Eleanor Paulin’s bold hand motifs in her ‘Genetic Metamorphosis’ collection stood out, an Art Attack splash of 1990s graphic pattern against a red, turquoise and pink palette. Melissa Villevieille’s ‘Fauve, Moi’ collection was another highlight, with its interesting study of exaggerated proportions, stark monochrome stripes and heavy, beaded fabrics.

The final orgy of performance costume got a few gasps from the crowd for Jenni Thomson’s creepy winking eye male corset and cartoon ‘Confectioner’ in an acid-washed wig and cupcake dress, followed by dreamy stares at Holly Prescott’s 1920s, silky interpretation of The Brothers Grimm tale, The Golden Bird.

Ridiculous, imaginative, and with obvious crossover to other ECA departments of illustration, design and architecture, there’s clear talent dotted throughout this year’s circus of a catwalk show.

In addition to the catwalk shows, three alumni who graduated in Performance Costume will host a talk following the 2pm show on Sat 25 Apr. Anna Robbins, who now works for Downton Abbey, and Katy Taylor and Emma O'Loughlin, who work for Game of Thrones, will discuss their experiences and answer questions from the audience. Guests can attend the talk at no extra cost.

Edinburgh College of Art: SHOW 2015, Fri 24 Apr, 6.30pm and 8.30pm; Sat 25 April: 2pm and 8pm

Edinburgh College of Art: SHOW 2015

Spot the next Alexander McQueen amid the annual glitz and glam of the ECA fashion show, which features the work of graduating fashion, costume and textile students.