RCA Society

RCA Fashion 2011

RCA Fashion Show 2011
The RCA graduates fashion show is one of the key markers of where 'fashion' is - or will be. Hanging on to the traditional accolade of being the best show on the block is a tough call but the RCA graduating students' fashion show always manages to be visually stunning, technically challenging, and provides plenty of memorable 'fashion statements'. A mix of men's and women's wear across various genres - sprinklings of knitwear, practical wear, fantasy wear, head wear, footwear, extrawear, - all marking out a range of life styles. From crazy hip hop juveniles to elegant "mega buck" grand dames, from boyish cartoons to androgynous creatures.
The professional models quick change routine strutted, sometimes awkwardly, to the tempo of an equally wide range of musical embellishments along the stark white runway. Occasionally hidden by the Mars brutalist columns from the 1960s the audience, with crained necks, just couldn't quite grasp what they were seeing; small textured details; ruching, pleating, pinching and beading gave way to grand gestures of architected shapes or billowing movement.
To stand out and be noticed (and make that impact as fashion design demands) amongst (thirty three) graduates each presenting (six) outfits that best represent their own particular style and approach to Fashion is not an easy task. The choice for graduating students to use their 'final' show as their last opportunity to make work that strikes fear into heartless manufacturers or to make the "safe pitch for that safe job" permeates through these shows. But again this year the show was impressive - punctuated with memorable works that ensures British fashion certainly has an exciting future.

This year The RCA Society will again be awarding it's annual "RCA Society and Thames & Hudson Art Book Prize" to 23 graduating students whose work shows '“exceptional skill and innovation in a particular discipline, and is critical and challenging across the area of art and design”. Fashion School winners to be announced soon. See the photos - http://www.rcasociety.net/node/3970

Show Fashion
A review by John Kaine
This was the first RCA fashion show that I had witnessed and the whole experience was unfamiliar to me. Does public acclaim alter, or affect the degree results I don’t know. It seemed to be an all ticket affair with very strict rules about going out and coming in. My large red invitation card was acknowledged with some deference and I felt the value of my opinion had been up graded to significant.

We entered a small dark indoor stadium with a white track and black seats, each seat marked with a list of the exhibitors names. Everyone seemed to know everyone but showed no obvious friendliness and we all sat in hostile anticipation of the show.

The track suddenly illuminated and the show began. Everything was accompanied by music loud enough to drown out an attack helicopter.
The models appeared at regular intervals like the rounds on a machine gun belt. Each one factory made brand new and individually wrapped. They walked a predetermined path hardwired in at the factory, the heads did not move and the eyes did not swivel. As each batch of six ended the music changed and the next six emerged. Somewhere in all this mechanistic ritual were the hopes and fears of 33 fashion graduates. The liturgy was well rehearsed, and I presume all those who took part knew the rules and accepted the consequences. Then as quickly as it started it ended and we all filed out. The daylight out side seemed strong, and I wondered if my presence had furthered any ones career. The critical atmosphere slowly disappeared and we walked into the park to drink tea, relieved of the burden of judgement.