VIA Design CPH graduate show 2015

By Veronika Dorosheva

It’s always exciting to see what the new generation of fashion talent is up to: what is their vision, what are their dreams, what’s is the new point of view that they are bringing into fashion.
However, it’s actually very hard to talk about the “new” in our image-saturated culture nowadays, especially in terms of fashion. All things that seem new to us are variations of something that we have already seen. Nowadays fashion is all about variations on the known, about a new take and a new twist on the classics.
In their show at Copenhagen Fashion Week, VIA Design graduate students showed their unique and elaborate takes on classic fashion design. Some students developed their collections using fabrics and materials as their starting point.
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Stine Sandermann Olsen worked with up-cycled materials such as wool and PVC and developed her own woven and knitted textiles. Some of the dresses that Stine Sandermann Olsen created made me think of Stine Ladefoged’s signature knitted dresses (Stine Ladefoged is a Danish fashion designer who works mostly with knits): both designers worked with cut-outs and knitted embellishments that jut out from the surface creating a 3D effect.
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Lærke Olesen developed a new material that she painted in skin color with faded images of muscles. The collection is dedicated to women who are affected by breast cancer and it is an attempt to translate their feelings into actual garments. Interesting detail: visible stitches that resembled surgeon’s stitches and were placed just above the breasts referring to breast cancer, and in particular to the fact that the breasts have to be removed when affected by cancer.
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Trine Jørgensen worked with denim and focused on deconstruction of recognizable menswear details embracing a torn-and-used aesthetic. The mixture of fabrics like wool and denim was interesting and gave the collection the desired deconstructed unfinished look.

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Mathilde Kofod Eskildsen’s creations were entirely covered with seashells, barnacles and clams. She showed three looks: a mini-dress that was covered with seashells and clams, an asymmetrically cut slim-fitted dress that came with a face mask as a whole piece (which invoked images of Maison Margiela’s iconic face masks) and that was actually made of circles of folded material that looked like barnacles. The barnacle-circles were sewn together in a way that left some empty space between them, allowing bare skin to shine through here and there. The third dress was made of layers of blue tinted fabric that covered the entire body of the model, only the model’s head towered above this one piece of pure volume – a piece which even Giambattista Valli would be proud of. Nice detail: the shoes that the models were wearing were covered with real sand. This collection was the most avant-garde and surreal of all students’ work presented in the show.

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Some students picked up on the current sportswear and 90s trend, combining sporty and urban elements like Mille Halkjær Thisted who worked with airtex, mesh and neoprene, or like..

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Marie Christine Nielsen who used classic denim pieces as a base for her menswear collection while she added a distinct feminine touch to them. She played around with tacky and kitsch elements: flounces of fabric adorned an oversized sporty jacket in saturated red; bling-bling, rhinestones, glitter and fake fur were seen on a hoodie and a denim jacket.

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Diana Dovgialo used sportswear related elements such as buckles, straps and mesh fabric for her study of “ugliness”. Deconstruction and flashy colors invoked a 90-s feeling.

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Lisbet Solsø Nielsen chose to work with face-prints and face-appliqués, something that major designers have already embraced many times (think: Henrik Vibskov SS 15 collection and recently John Galliano for Maison Margiela Spring 2015 couture collection).
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Henriette Jürgensen’s attempt to create a unisex collection ended up in a range of voluminous oversized tops and jackets in geometric shapes that conceal the natural body shape. Yes, these pieces could be worn by both men and women alike, but should we call a garment “a unisex garment” only because it covers the body in a way that we can’t see whether the wearer is a man or a woman? – Certainly not. There is something missing in her collection that all-in-all looks quite masculine due to exaggerated broad shoulders and loose shapes.
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Agne Malisauskaite wanted to challenge the very definition of femininity which is usually described as soft, ladylike and gentle, and mostly associated with the colors pink and red by adding elements of the macabre, as stated in the press release. Malisauskaite created three outfits using the same color palette of pastel pink, pink and wine red. She garnished the looks with fairy tale elements. There is a cape in soft pink with visible stitches, a sporty coat with patch pockets that is trimmed with fake fur, and a wine red organza dress. The designer definitely succeeded in creating a fairy tale universe, but there were no clearly visible elements that would challenge the socially constructed definition of femininity.
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Tina Havmøller was inspired by Arctic landscapes to create a beautiful collection using such materials as sealskin, yarn and neoprene. The items cut from sealskin were sprinkled with white shiny paint so that they had the same shiny effect to them like snowflakes when they shine and glow against the dark sky.
All 12 collections, including menswear, were actually designed by female design students – an interesting and fascinating fact especially if we consider that fashion industry is still quite male dominated. The collections also showed an emerging interest in questioning gender boundaries and exploring the concept of the unisex garment – these are the topics that are becoming more and more important in fashion industry.

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All photos courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Week ©

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