The 2014 graduate show from the Raffles College of Design and Commerce, titled Perspective, took place in the big top of the iconic Luna Park in Sydney on December 9.
The location could not have been more idyllic, and the weather, which has been very stormy of late, held, allowing all guests and designers to make their way to the show.
It is almost impossible to make comment about all 30 graduates but having an eye for trend, I can say that there was a yearning felt through a sizeable portion of the work presented to embrace all things Mother Nature, in all her textures and colours: escapism, easier living, freedom and expressionism. There were 30 capsule collections consisting of six looks each.
The show was opened by Queency Yustiawan, inspired by the work of Russian painter Kazimir Malevich. A dramatic black-and-white dress coat was the pièce de résistance and reminded me of a bicolour paper plane. I was impressed with the tailoring of the piece.
Good tailoring has been spotted across much of the collections showed, which speaks volumes about the college they are graduating from. What I thought was a dying skill, cherished by very few nowadays, has hope.
My total stand-out was the capsule by Ashleigh Kwong, which displayed pared-back elegance, fresh and interesting prints and shapes, and wearability. There was a little white trapeze dress with a blue print that I would happily wear any time.
In the glamour department, Shannon Gambino was a shining star, and so was Tiana Ha Phuong Thao Van, with her royal blue obsession. Her inspiration reminded me slightly of Toni Maticevski and my favourite piece was a little single-shoulder cocktail dress featuring delicate, layered ruffles. Also notable in this department was Lily Purkiss, who presented a capsule of delicate sheers covering shorter layers: utter purity and elegance. Hailing all the way from Italy, Daniela Monica Da Rui presented a capsule inspired by German expressionism, femmes fatales and film noir. She captured her brief very well as one of the pieces, an elegant black dress appliquéd with sculptural black twigs, made me think of a fairy tale with the iconic Marlene Dietrich playing the lead. Christine Milanja, with her elegant and demurely sexy capsule, also deserves a mention.
High on wearability were Molly Ya Jung Wu with her pared-down capsule exhibiting very interesting cuts. Rishella Lisha Liang presented a capsule of more wearable menswear and resort-like womenswear featuring appliqués.
The best menswear, to my mind, was presented by Noal Yam Gurung. Xtra Senquan Ruan presented an interesting combination of interlocking shapes and draping.
It was a beautiful show and I expect to see much more from these graduates. I just love to see unbridled creativity not yet contaminated by commercial realities and the utter need to push prices down in today’s world. Good things are worth paying a nice sum for and are treasured forever. Some of what I saw could be produced and placed into stores tomorrow.