There was no one trend or theme running through the Bournemouth Graduate Show. It was an eclectic mix of styles, inspiration and messages. The show started with Ellis Currie’s ‘Pattern of Pairs’ which mixed textures in earthy but modern hues of eggshell, navy and taupe. The colours were seen in crafted Shakespearian ruffled shoulders over matted skirts with loose shreds, in delicately pleated tea dresses, and in sheer mesh jackets over bohemian tie-dyed maxi lengths. The show passed through futuristic shifts in shiny mints with mesh overlays and Flapper-style helmets, as well as hooded nuns in immaculate yet simple cuts that would only corrupt their flock.
Robbie Devonald’s menswear collection punked up current trends by oversizing snoods with angular pleats, teaming wife-beaters with shrunken chinos in inky blacks and moody greys. A following menswear collection by Polly Walters dramatised fishermen knits using rope wool to give a low thread-count, presented to the twang of county music.
Undoubtedly ending with a bang, the last three collections were full of the unexpected. Following pairs of Eastern-inspired and heart-warmingly cute top-knotted children in Rajasthani-style harems, bold Indian elephant prints and sparkling bindis by Shauni Paulley, the penultimate collection ended with a mature female model with glistening white hair rocking up next to lads in thick woven vests and starched white shirts in Harry Smith’s ‘Renaissance Ritual’.
The Bournemouth show ended on a subtly political note with Ke Li’s ‘ GEN Y’ collection inspired by the 80s and 90s Chinese generation that witnessed a cultural revolution. The collection, represented by Geisha girls in cropped black wigs and geometrically printed puff ball hem dresses, conveyed nostalgia for Communist China with the final model enthusiastically waving a Chinese-crimson flag emblazoned with the words “Made by China”. A collection with no shortage of inspiration for a greater message.
– Serina Sandhu