This weekend saw the second graduating cohort from the MA Menswear course at the University of Westminster showing at LFWM.
Under the direction of Liliana Sanguino, these graduates have been taught by a diverse range of menswear tutors including Alex Mullins, Ben Reardon, Charles Jeffrey, Rottingdean Bazaar, Prof. Andrew Groves, Richard Gray, and Anthony Campbell.
Last year’s graduates included Robyn Lynch, now in her second season showing as part of Fashion East, and Priya Ahluwalia, winner of the 2019 H&M Design Award and recent recipient of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN support initiative Integral to the MA Menswear course is the Westminster Menswear Archive, which consists of over 1800 garments from the world’s most significant menswear designers.
San Kim’s collection is inspired by the sculptural work of artist Paul McCarthy. In particular, McCarthy’s sculpture Tree, which is a crucial look within the collection. Kim’s interest lies in Freud’s psychosexual development and juxtaposes this with contrasting images of children and adults, clumsiness and sophistication, playfulness and seriousness in the collection.
While the inflatable products can be viewed as crude, the garments are based on sophisticated Japanese denim production methods. Kim also portrays Freud’s use of the term “Libido” in a playful, witty way, rather than sexually communicating it. The colour story was a direct reference from the work of Allen Jones’ painting, which shares the same language.
Finding beauty in the distortion of the work of artist Sarah Lucas, Crowther is inspired to use sculpture as a canvas to build functional clothing. Taking inspiration from the film Sante Sangre, where, in a violent pastiche of slasher cinema, Alejandro Jodorowsky presents a surrealist satire on the absurdities of organised religion.
His cinematography led her to observe the sharp silhouettes and tailoring of theatrical costume, and the ‘magic behind the screen’ steered her to working with augmented reality. Crowther integrates women’s stockings into her tailoring, which allow her to create a sense of tension and illusion through irregular and distorted silhouettes. Internship Alex Mullins, Charles Jeffery.
Lin’s collection reimagines his own image of himself as a teenage misfit who as a young boy longed to be a skater. The collection for the University of Westminster MA Menswear fashion show recreates an ideal model for himself, adopting his own idiosyncratic hand drawing – a childhood pastime Lin used whenever feeling insecure, with the lines and shapes creating a dream world to drive the nightmares away. Silhouette inspiration is drawn from late 90s street scenes with knowingly awkward proportions reflecting the outsider’s perspective.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a collection inspired by Tommy Wan’s personal experience in love, obsession and fetish. It explores the definition of the “Ideal” guy to date and be in love with, drawing references from the Ivy Style in America. The collection is also inspired by the Mad About the Boy exhibition, of how young male is projected in fashion from outsider to sexual fantasy to reveller.
Tommy’s favourite blue and white fabrics with the checkered and striped pattern are frequently used in the collection together with sex harness-inspired design details, aiming to play between the boundaries of kinky and innocent, which defines his unique fashion aesthetic.
Inspired by Henri Matisse cut-outs, the collection conceives the silhouette as a collage, contrasted with the modernity of Issey Miyake sculptural silhouette and balanced with Armani 80’s sharp cuts.
The aesthetic of the collection projects a style that combines her obsession for curved lines and a love for craftsmanship, acknowledging traditional needlework and attention to details. It gives life to a sculptural silhouette built from layering and enhanced with a language of textile work.
Krischer’s approach challenges the shoulder line and body proportions that tailoring has dictated through time, with engineered shaped shoulders, oversized volumes and arched sleeves.
LOLA VAN PRAAG
Lola van Praag’s collection, NO UNLOCALS, is inspired by the ’70s and 80’s surf scene in California. To kick-start, this project, Lola collected a bunch of old wetsuits. She deconstructed these to learn about the way they are built and to get an idea about the patterns used by pioneering surf companies like O’Neill and Rip Curl.
Praag emphasises construction and seaming by exaggerating these details, using them predominantly in decorative, rather than a purely functional, way. Further inspiration comes from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew where research on exotic flowers is developed into hand-drawn prints that feature on the garments.
This collection celebrates the beauty of masculinity; exploring the intersections between high-end fashion and homoeroticism in a sporty context. Rozsahegyi’s draws inspiration was Luke Smalley’s Gymnasium photo series, which celebrates teenage American athletes. Daniel wanted to bring this strong yet sensual boy alive with his collection by revealing and emphasising several characteristic features of the male body.
Using several different types of cut-out techniques; which are reflecting the outline silhouettes of the vintage swim, gym and underwear from the 1930’s-1940’s; together with tailoring resulted in unique subverted-tailoring pieces. The collection has a retrospective, nostalgic feeling to it with a twist of modern days’ minimalist aesthetics.
AMELIE MARIE GAYDOUL
Celebrating the feeling of sharing a meal and the strong communal emotion of sitting together at a table. Gaydoul’s collection ‘ACKER’ celebrates the culture and aesthetics of restaurants and the elegance of evening clothing. Drawing inspiration from her grandmothers’ restaurant, over 100-year-old tablecloths and napkins, are combined with tailoring in contemporary silhouettes.
The intensely personal and honest collection is a tribute to the contrast of tradition and modernity using hand dyed devoré velvets, tablecloth pleats, crisply starched poplins, the tying detailing of aprons and a wool linen weave developed with the Irish weaver John England to create highly desirable and inclusive pieces.
Reeves’ collection for University of Westminster MA Menswear fashion show contrasts the opulence of interiors created by Christian Lacroix, with the energy of the ‘90s London garage scene. These influences are interpreted through an environmentally conscious approach, with garments constructed from discarded fabric swatches from a well-known British fashion designer, reimaging their discarded aesthetic into new outcomes.
This patchwork technique creates unexpected sample combinations, joined together with heat bonded duct tape, working with instinctive combinations for each garment. Reutilising fashion waste is explored further through a range of shoes which are reconstructed through the utilisation of old trainer soles, onto which new trainers have been rebuilt using the same taping method.
Wu’s collection explores luxury, decadence and desire. He defines decadence as “decay, egocentric and excess” it could be the Little Edie from Grey Gardens, living the squalor, or it could be the gesture of Stephen Tennant.
Wu combines his fascination for decadence and his own style to explore more possibilities in menswear: elegance, softness, definiteness and delicacy. 3D floral swimsuits and liquefied embroidered organza dresses challenge the traditional idea of men’s swimwear.
Coats dropping down and inverted lady-shaped blazers shatter the typical menswear silhouette. While the photographs of German photographer Heinrich Heidersberger are referenced for their depiction of gender within this collection.
Which of these University of Westminster MA Menswear collections impressed you the most? Let us know in the comment section below.
Images: MA Menswear, University of Westminster