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Amongst many designers, there was a trend toward facial prints, accents of neon, colour blocking, as well as crisp monochrome. Using facial prints, Emma Guilfoyle’s show was slightly political with younger, hotter versions of Margaret Thatcher ruling the runway and instructing us to “vote”. Vamped up rosettes, patchwork tweeds in mints and pink, and the synonymous pearl necklace, politicians could only hope for this kind of Lady in the House of Commons.

Catherine Sylvester and Samantha Messias saw the beauty in ruffles and ruching to create contemporary gowns and trousers, freshening them away from their traditionally stuffy persona. Sylvester used white and silver lamé to construct ruffle detail that contoured around the body to update the popular (yet sometimes borderline trashy), cut-away look. Messias swirled black and white ruffled ribbons around the figure, teaming it with sheer partner ensembles.

Other highlights came from Laura Bowler’s brilliantly white collection, who inventively used white crayons to create collars and necklaces; very avante-garde non? She also created massive tangled webs of thick, white wire which confined the model’s neck and shoulders, in a newfangled Victorian style. Heather Gerrick’s models looked liked bad-girl versions of Eve in graffitied and floral draped skirts and dresses, while wild laces of fabric flowers daintily fluttering as they strut. Embracing shoulder pads in a big way, Cunningham’s designs had a hint of Hermés with Victoriana prints of gilt framing and oil paintings, overlain with chandelier-crystal net.

In all, the UCLan designers displayed immense craftsmanship and talent, with many using a basic shirt pattern as a canvas for their art. Hopefully this will be inspiration for us all to revamp our wardrobe staples.

– Serina Sandhu

– Catwalk images Paul Harness

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