V&A: Future Fashion Now

The V&A’s latest fashion exhibition: Future Fashion Now: New Design from the Royal College of Art features highlights from its MA graduates’ final collections and reveals aspects of the design process. For the past 60 years, the RCA has prepared aspiring designers for fashion careers leading to graduates working in fashion houses such as Galliano, Vivienne Westwood, Chloé, Dior and Burberry. Others such as Ossie Clark, Boudicca, Julien Macdonald and, more recently, Erdem Moralioglu and Carolyn Massey have developed their own labels.

55 outfits and accessories from 27 designers are displayed in four sections – Concept, Form, Technique and Detail. Each section will explore the design stages the students go through to create their final collection from their inspiration to the finished garment, and will include preparatory drawings, design boards and photographs.

Concept looks at the central ideas and inspiration behind the graduates’ work. A military-inspired, crystal-encrusted jacket by menswear designer Katie Eary is shown alongside images from her preparatory sketchbook with photographs which informed and inspired the designer’s work.

Form explores how designers transform their ideas into 3-D garments by experimenting with materials and cut. Objects such as Heikki Salonen’s sharply tailored womenswear and Nina Hjorth’s extreme high-heeled shoes will show how the designers have achieved a desired shape.

Technique reveals the ways in which the graduates create their work using both traditional and the most advanced methods such as laser cutting, bonding, digital printing and sophisticated rapid prototyping. On display will be Siri Johansen’s men’s oversize cable-knitted jumper which combines machine and hand knitting techniques as well as a padded silk dress printed with digitally-manipulated images by Iacopo Calamandrei.

Detail illustrates how customised fastenings, decorative stitching, jewelled embellishment or a delicate print can make a piece unique. This section includes Benjamin Shun Lai Ng’s crystal-studded footwear and Adrian Sommerauer’s beautifully detailed menswear.

The exhibition is currently on display and will run until January 2010.

Image: Future Fashion Now

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