Antwerp Class of 2014 Part 2

…continued on from Part 1

Hyein Seo – The name from this crop of graduates that’s likely to be the most recognisable is Hyein Seo.  Like her Korean compatriot Minju Kim, who the 2013 H&M award with her third year collection, Seo also got a head start when she showed her third year collection as part of VFiles in New York last February.  It made instant impact, with Rihanna wearing Seo’s signature “Fear” fur stole around Paris last season and stockists clamouring to stock the collection.  Seo had to graduate first and so she’s done so with a collection called “Bad Education”.  It was the most “shopfloor-ready” collection of the lot and unsurprisingly got the most Insta-love with eye candy hits like ‘Loser’ lace, ‘School Kills’ slapped on the back of jackets and dare I say girl-friendly school uniform silhouettes.  Seo worked in her name as though she was ready to launch her own brand but also poked fun at the fact that she was the ‘bad girl’ of Antwerp precisely because of this commercial ambition.  It was interesting that Seo said that her collection was perhaps not very ‘Antwerp-y’ because of its instant saleability.  True that it lacked depth in terms of inspiration compared to the others.  But you want to buy it and wear it.  Hyein Seo now seeks to set up her label in Antwerp and will most likely to be the solo hit of this crop of graduates.

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Madeleine Coisne – In a sparse room in the beautiful school grounds of the Academy, Madeleine Coisne replicated the tunnels that lead up to Antwerp’s Central Station to display her highly accomplished print-based collection.  She looked at the geometric patterns on the tunnels and also ecclesiastical clothing to create silhouettes that featured interlocking flat planes that were the perfect foundations for Coisne’s elegant geometric prints, rendered in rich colour combination – sometimes in velvet, sometimes in silk satin.  It was as though Coisne was sending out a visual CV to Dries van Noten, who incidentally was present at the show with his team, as they gave out a prize (it went to third year student Laure Severac).

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Raffaela Graspointner – Surface decoration reigned supreme in this year’s batch of Antwerp graduates and Raffaela Graspointner led the charge on the adornment front with her collection ‘Holi Blush Bubble Crush’.  Ray and Charles Eames (with a touch of Memphis?) inspired Graspointner along with Joan Miro’s shapes, David Hockney’s colours and an ornate mood derived from Bollywood.  It could have been an overload of art, design and cultural references if it weren’t for the fact that Graspointner executed her silhouettes with precision and strong head-to-toe conviction (note the excellent socks and shoes).  Indian embroidery in eye-catching colour combinations veering between pastel and vivid on leather surfaces were again handled brilliantly.  What should have been too much turned out to be spot-on.  Of course, there’s no denying that there’s a personal aesthetic bias.  Graspointner’s eye for colour, decoration and textures makes her a delicious prospect, whether she does her own thing or works for a house.

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Clara Jungman Malmquist – In football, there’s a game of two halves and in fashion, there’s a presentation of two halves.  In Clara Jungman Malmquist‘s presentation, it was hard to see her clothes properly as they hung limply on rails, supported by admittedly strong drawings and research materials inspired by childish paint-by-numbers and Karlheinz Weinberger photographs of post-war Swiss teenagers.  In the show however, Malmquist’s sense of colour, layering and texture play came to life.  Her tulle canvases hand painted with geometric compositions and simplistic landscapes exercised technique but also an uplifting joyfulness – a feeling felt similarly in Eran Shanny’s collection.  In further conversation, Malmquist comes across as a true independent and experimental spirit, which would be great to see explored further in the future.

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Virginia Burlina – Last but certainly not least on the installation rounds was Virginia Burlina‘s collection “Lunatica” presented in a church, where she had set up her beautiful and haunting paintings alongside her collection with a sacrificial alter laying out the scene of her abandoned bride.  Burlina was inspired by the outsider artist Marguerite Sir, who went insane after she was jilted at the alter.  Sir created a hypothetical wedding gown for her imaginary nuptials as an art piece and Burlina takes the lead, combining wedding dress elements with hospital gowns as the basis for her highly ornate collection.  Surprisingly, Burlina taught herself (and members of her family) to do embroidery for the purpose of this collection.  And yet her beadwork looked incredibly accomplished as though they had been sewn on by the hands of a specialist.  Burlina’s collection was impressive on an emotional front and her technical tenacity married (geddit…) well with the narrative of the collection.

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14 Replies to “Antwerp Class of 2014 Part 2”

  1. Loving the embroidered trousers and socks+sandals so far the most, and I wished I had those ‘school ruined my life’ jackets and ‘loser’ heels to wear at school back in the day, ahh memories… lol!

  2. I paid attention to the footwear this time and I love the different shoes. not as in I’d buy them, but as in – they really fit into that certain mood of each design. Love small details.

  3. At first glance I thought that the style and design didn’t have much to say but as I went down the images and actually saw what I was being shown, it actually pulled out all kind of emotions, which shows just how poignant the designers have been.
    School can be like taking part in the Hunger Games and the fact that we are all thrown in to one building to run the same gauntlet when we may be introverts, makes me so sad and helpless.

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