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Review: Fashion Showcase Wales

Postiwyd gan archifCLICarchive o Cenedlaethol - Cyhoeddwyd ar 24/11/2010 am 18:50
0 sylwadau » - Tagiwyd fel Celfyddyd, Diwylliant, Dawns, Amgylchedd, Ffasiwn, Cerddoriaeth, Pobl

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Just two days after bonfire night, almost 200 models hit the runway at Fashion Showcase Wales 2010, creating a spectacular show and cementing the fifth annual event as the premier Welsh fashion affair.

The show was split into several sections, each including a collection from a different designer and a diverse performance.  Each collection was then preceded by a short encapsulating the theme of the coming collection, and a video from show director Kate Handley introducing the section.  Incorporating this kind of media into the show was an especially effective touch, as if it were a nod to the current popularity of online fashion vlogging (video blogging).  It kept the show current, informative and fresh, and linked each sequence seamlessly.

The interactive nature of the show was evident from the beginning, capturing the audience’s attention immediately by giving them a chance to make like an America’s Next Top Model judge and vote for their favourite model by text.  The girls strutted out onto the catwalk wearing designs by Welsh designer Sarah Joseph, simple but flattering designs making a statement with clashing purple and orange colours.

Moving on, drama began to unfold with the ‘dirty rock and roll’ band Johnny Cage and The Voodoo Groove creating the live soundtrack to a vampire-inspired collection labelled ‘soul hunter’.  Topless male models wearing capes created an imposing sight, slightly detracting from the nondescript black clothing the female models were sporting.  The models became the ‘hunted souls’ of the section, seeping into the audience and scaring the living daylights out of some of the members of VIP. 

Eco-label Raggedy showcased an Amelia Earhart inspired collection next, a part of the show most notable for the Rapunzel-style floor-length hair of the models.  Each outfit comprised of quirkily layered fabrics in very relevant autumnal colours, with designer Hayley Trezise clearly inspired by the Victorian era.  Local band Under The Driftwood Tree performed their chilled-out-surf-hippy-style music, fully complementing the ethos of the clothing.

Pure entertainment came from a talented display by miniature dance crew Jukebox Juniors.  They gave a futuristic performance wearing space age silver suits and blacked out sunglasses, switching between robotic and energetic dance moves so awe-inspiring they made you want to time travel back to your pre-teen years to train as a professional dancer.

After a half-time break the uber-talented Vicky Sanders treated the audience to some visual decadence with her especially intricate designs from her fledgling fashion label Vixy, with each of her dresses taking 40 hours from conception to creation.  Vicky uses effective but time-consuming techniques such as hand painting, fabric spray painting, free machine embroidery, hand embroidery and embellishments, ensuring that all of her dresses deserve to be labelled as ‘couture’. 

Vicky took on the section entitled ‘muse’ and created a collection that reads as an interpretation of the history of art.  Kate Handley declared ‘fashion IS art’ prior to the section, and the dresses from the Vixy label most certainly reinforce this statement.

The most notable piece of the collection was the first piece shown, a Michelangelo inspired dress with an elaborate fragment of the Sistine Chapel hand-painted on to its back (pictured above).  Along with this dress, the whimsical earlier examples of art on dresses segued into edgier and even more theatrical pop-art styles.  Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol’s art both appeared on flamboyantly decorated dresses that put the ‘show’ into this showcase.

This sections clothing were offset by models wearing body-paint that complemented the artistic theme of each dress.  One model was completely covered in Warhol-esque commercial images, while another had cartoon strips and phrases painted on her from head to toe in homage to Roy Lichtenstein.  They created a vivid and eye-catching spectacle, truly embodying what a fashion show is all about.

Rock 'n' Needle ended the show with designer Kelly Goss’s tattoo-inspired embroidered dresses.  A dance troupe brought a large dose of kitsch to the finale, storming the catwalk in an 80s themed dance-off, complete with bunches, neon tights, and oversized balloons.

Fashion Showcase Wales as an event may not be quite be up to London Fashion Week standard (yet!) but this is not really what it is attempting to be.  It’s clear that the motive behind the showcase is the premise of giving talented up-and-coming designers a platform, but also to entertain in the process; a feat that was most definitely accomplished.  I can’t wait till next year, will most definitely be nabbing one of those front row seats.

Did you go to Fashion Showcase Wales?  What did you think?  What do you think of the Cardiff fashion scene in general?  Comment below...

For more pictures and for more fashion related musings, check out my blog.

Images: Loren Cotter

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