Design & Arts College ‘Cover Story’ Fashion Show

Kylie Lloyd Gold Couture

Leah Johnstones' Avant Garde creation

Kate Pierson takes us on her journey behind the scenes at the Design & Art Colleges Visual Show held in Christchurch on Monday the 25th of May.

When the lights come up it’s just the models, the clothes and two hundred pair of greedy eyes savouring what they have to offer. At this years Design and Arts college fashion show “Cover Story 09”, recycled eclecticism was on the menu.

I was adopted into the D&A family over the weekend prior to their formal shows to trail them on their journey from dress rehearsal to live shows. I witnessed an artistic metamorphosis from experimentation through to the realization of a vision, and I write this article now with a better understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the creative mind and what it can achieve.

With the weather threatening temperatures of below zero degrees outside on Saturday during mid -morning dress rehearsal in Christchurch, I in my jacket and thick winter boots, had to take my crocheted beret off to the models dressed in rather modest attire. Wearing post-modern dresses, 1920’s vintage inspired short – shorts or in the case of the body art students – nothing at all – two hundred models with their fifty designer counterparts as sideline advisors, stormed the makeshift runway, perfecting the art of the model strut. I watched intrigued, as gradually, with support from their peers, bashfulness subsided into confidence and shyness became sassiness.

Kylie Williams

Rebecca Hayden paints her model

With an emphasis on texture, paint, print, pattern and fabric manipulation the key themes of Cover Story-sustainability, reconstruction and recycling with an avant-garde flair – reflected the D&A’s desire to take inspiration from the world around them. The seven segments within the Sunday and Monday evening shows made for one hour of visual gratification. Integrating clothing, makeup and body art, each of the seven segments channelled a unique fashion concept or genre although the binding trend between most student collections was literally the material – it was recycled!

The collections were aesthetically compelling featuring bold reds and greens inspired by blossoming bouquets and pastel pink and cream tones evocative of 1920’s flapper fashion. Student selected music intensified the aesthetic experience and stimulated senses with beats from commercial artists such as Black Eyed Peas through to lesser-known artists such as MIA.

Kylie Lloyd

Emma Cummings work on the runway

Technicalities aside, this particular event represented more than just assessment or industry opportunity. It represented the culmination of much hard work and was about pushing the boundaries of contemporary fashion. As I discussed with Annabel Gudsell, head of the D&A, for her students AKA the “creative’s”, this show represented a “collaboration of the talent between students and makeup students”.

I was lucky enough to steal some time with these students and their mentors as they rushed about during last minute alterations and preparation on Sunday afternoon. The first to admit that I lack the skills to sew a seam or replace a missing button (blush), I was surprised and in awe to hear that often newbie’s to the school have yet to pick up a needle and thread themselves!

Kylie Lloyd

Anna Bleases' model on the catwalk

Student designer Kerrie Williams, 23 who is completing her second year at the D&A conceded that the show “is the biggest milestone in my life and I have never worked so hard”. This was a feeling that was shared by all the students I spoke with. There was also an overwhelming consensus that “big ups” were owed to those who nurtured the talents on show. That feeling was clearly mutual with D&A programme leader Trudi confessing, “they [the students] make me really proud”. A former D&A student herself, Trudi maintained that her biggest achievement has been realized through nurturing her students and allowing “creative people to be creative”.

Cover story for all its contemporary creativity certainly embodied a nostalgic vibe. This vibe was inspired by the thematic references to bygone eras of fashion, the retro recycled materials and the presence of former students who came to support the present.

If you want to sample this nostalgia yourself it’s not too late – pop along this Wednesday night and have a taste of the D&A Éclair – their exhibition that is.

The D&A has an open door this Wednesday 27th May 2009 from 5.30pm onwards at 116 Worcester St, Christchurch where the red ribbon opening of Éclair will be taking place. This exhibition created by the 2nd year design students will be showcasing third year fashion garments featured in Cover Story 09.

Many thanks to Kyle Williams & Kylie Lloyd of the Design & Arts College for providing the photographs in this article.

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One Response to “Design & Arts College ‘Cover Story’ Fashion Show”
  1. Sarah says:

    Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

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