Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Gala

The Gala show at GFW turns out to be the student alternative of the BAFTA's. This means that everyone gets that lil bit more dressed up, the paved entrance to Earls Court gets the full red (well pink) carpet treatment, complete with metal barriers (to keep the non-existent fans at bay) and well quite frankly it becomes a bit of a celeb fest!

The press room was brimming with famous faces. Erin O'Connor, who was working the room in bare foot looked fab in a silver beaded jacket, while Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud, looked frightfully tiny but fashionista in a black and gold Vivienne Westwood number. Zandra Rhodes dazzled in purple and pinks hues, while Elle editor Lorraine Candy kept it chic in a black Prada number. As if that wasn't enough Biba stood chatting to Eley of Eley Kishimoto and Rachel Stevens and fellow Popstar Amelle from the Sugababes were spotted in the press room.

But obviously this was all about the graduates and the auditorium quickly filled up. With Ashely Banjo being GFW face of River Island, it was no surprise that Diversity opened the show. They wowed the crowed with their creative dance routine and put us all in the party mood!

Before the main catwalk show and awards, it was time to honour those students that normally get passed over. Those that choose to study fashion marketing, promotion, media and the like often don't end up with kudos that is showered onto design students so it was nice to see them getting recognised.

Bournemouth graduate Ellie Mountford scooped the Fashion, Promotion and Media prize, while Jessica Dance waltzed off (sorry I couldn't resist) with the Creative Marketing award.

Nathalie Murray walked away with the Textile Award, while fellow Northumbria graduate Alice Barnes took home the Hachette Media and Design award. Northumbria had an excellent night as Amy Quickfall got the Strategic Marketing Award.

Luckily several other Universities didn't leave empty handed. Colchester took home two trophies, with Ellen Devall winning the First Word Journalism prize and Kitty Keay receiving the Mulberry Accesories Award presented by non other than Creative Director of Mulberry, Emma Hill, who simple adored Kitty's bags.

Then it was Marie Clare Editor Trish McEvoy's turn at the stand who presented the first 'Inspiration' award, voted online for by students graduating from the 22 GFW Uni's. Unsurprisingly the winner was Lee Alexander McQueen, with the award being picked up by his CEO, it was no shock that this creative talent touched so many, he inspired rebellion and beauty, something many design students struggle for.

There was an awkward moment, when GFW awarded high street retailer River Island, essentially for 'Services to the High Street', but really it was a way of saying cheers for all the money to put this on!

We moved swiftly on to the catwalk stage. This year there were European Universities in the line up and a seperate International Collection of the Year, which went to Roya Hesam (Amsterdam Institute), which I reviewed earlier in the week.

The BHM Visionary Knitwear Award went to Ledina Zhang, taking Northumbria's award total up a notch and into the lead.

The Zandra Rhodes Catwalk Textile Prize unsurprisingly went to Anna Lee (De Montfort), who although I heard one journalist describe as "Ed Hardy on crack" due to its vibrancy and Chinese Dragon subject matter, the colours (orange and turquoise hues) were so vibrant and the mix of print velvet and silks didn't ensure that this collection was unforgettable.

The womenswear collection of the year went to my personal favourite Rhea Fields (Northbrook), who's latex suit jacket was so ingenius.
Menswear collection of the year went to Tim Crisp (Ravensbourne) who again was another favourite earlier in the week.

Finally the coveted River Island Gold Award that sees the winner walk away with £20,000 went to Manchester Met graduate Rebecca Thompson who's androgynous collection that had a strong '1800's' feel to it, that comprised of tailored trousers and intricately designed shirting, reminded me of Viktor and Rolf.
Under gold confetti, Rebecca took her walk of fame down the catwalk and the evening came to a close. It was off to the after party for drinks, tiny canapes and lots of dancing.
Cheerio graduates of 2010, let's see if 2011 can top you?

Rivkie Baum
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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