PORTSMOUTH FASHION SHOW INSPIRED BY THE BARD
As part of the festivities marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Much Ado About Portsmouth festival welcomed The Ruff Fashion Show to the suitable setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth. The event was huge fun with catwalk presentations, dance performances, music and a short piece by Southsea Shakespeare Actors. Everything had a Shakespearean theme, from the setting to the fashion to the performances.
The designers showcasing their collections of both women’s wear and men’s wear were set a brief to design and make four outfits inspired by Shakespearean times with an interesting modern twist. They were competing for fantastic prizes which included a double page spread in an international magazine, the opportunity to showcase a six piece collection at Highbury College Fashion Show and a professional photo-shoot with a Portsmouth University photography student. The stakes were high and each designer pulled out all the stops to wow the judges in an attempt to take home the prizes.
…set a brief to design and make four outfits inspired by Shakespearean times with an interesting modern twist
…the collection had a very sophisticated aesthetic and when combined with the sparkling embellishment was truly show-stopping…
In the end, it was designer Aisha Ally who took home first prize. Aisha was a science student and single mother who took a hobby of passion and made it into a business. With aspirations to take the business overseas, winning the feature in an international magazine will surely help her on her way. Her collection was inspired by Shakespeare with a fusion of East meets West. Her designs included dramatic embellishment, flowing skirts and draping head scarves. With a soft colour palette of lilac, white and silver, the collection had a very sophisticated aesthetic and when combined with the sparkling embellishment was truly show-stopping.
Mother and daughter design duo, Carol Pullen-Wakefield and Oceana Lucas took home second prize. Working together for the first time, together they used their skills to bring about a collection described as for the creative individual who is young at heart and not frightened to express themselves. Their collection was strongly influenced with an element of the theatrical costume. Delicate hand-painted silk and summer pastels featured strongly in the designs, and the Shakespearean theatrical element was seen throughout with corseted dresses and huge Elizabethan ruffles.
The final collection of the night and the third-place design team were Portsmouth University graduates Emily Streatfield and Jade Willis. They teamed up to create the collection entitled ‘Summers Distillation’. Both designers are known for exploring experimental techniques within their work to create unique fashion outcomes. Their collection was inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet V and explored the idea that nothing of beauty survives winter unless it has been preserved, but once preserved it can always be remembered. Seasons evolve into winter which in turn encapsulates any remaining beauty. Visual ideas from the sonnets lines and an element of Shakespearean fashion inspired both the structural and petal shaped panelling in some of their designs. The preservation of summer and beauty of winter is alluded to through their print and colour palette. This collection was quite different to the rest, featuring both women’s and men’s wear, and a neutral colour palette. A select few of the pieces featured beautiful laser cutting, an innovative addition to the collection.
All the designers worked very hard on their final collections for the show and it was fantastic to see such different interpretations of the same brief brought to life on the night. There is no doubt that each designer will have excellent careers in the industry and we look forward to seeing what they do next.
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The preservation of summer and beauty of winter is alluded to through their print and colour palette