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The Looks of Metamorphosis

A high fashion edit

by saskia kirkegaard

The Fashion Forward Society’s incredible show, Metamorphosis, served us a number of jaw-dropping looks, all of them made out of recycled materials or offcuts that the designers had lying around, perfectly showcasing their creative and sustainable talents. Every look focused on the idea of transformation, with some designers taking this literally- the flourishing unveiling of a babydoll dress that the audience believed to be a top or the removal of a conservative bridal veil to reveal a gothic lace bustier, were superb transformations that occurred before our very eyes. Some designers followed the theme through their materials, with models wearing old jeans as cardigans and trash bags as puffer jackets. All of the looks worked in tandem, with various textures and colours reappearing throughout the show to create coherence and playful edge. The models, many of them you would never have guessed to be new to the catwalk, brought the looks to life, adding a flirtatious drama which worked to harmonise the designs.

 

The show kicked off with ‘ready-to-wear’ looks, with Gabby’s one-piece being one of my favourites of the show. The main body of the piece was an asymmetrical black strapless dress, which dynamically drew your eye down to its yellow and red ruffled trim, revealing a pair of frilly silver bloomers underneath. The look was finished with a pair of chrome cowboy boots, which effortlessly helped to tie in a chromatic futuristic detail to an otherwise feminine and childlike look. The outfit felt like a Polly Pocket on steroids, and it was received with a lot of love from those I spoke to about it after the show, who said it radiated a ‘disco-punk’ vibe. 


Neto Ken-Amobi’s detailed crocheted dresses were also a big hit, with their vibrant colours and inclusive sizing making them feel more accessible to an audience most likely in their introductory phase into the ‘high-fashion’ world. Crochets and knits were a consistent device throughout the show, bringing the homemade, sustainable craze to the next level. One of my favourite uses of this was Henry Parson’s ‘unfinished scarf’, a blue knit scarf that ended with a ball of wool, knitting needles still firmly in place. As we have seen over the pandemic, the act of making one’s own clothes has become an almost revolutionary practise, a complete ‘fuck you’ to the world of fast fashion, and the unfinished scarf spoke to the beauty of taking a slow approach to life and clothing, as opposed to feeling pressure in a deadline filled world. The scarf may eventually be finished, but to the audience’s knowledge, it doesn’t have to be, which was a refreshing reflection upon themes of imperfection and continuity.

 

Halfway through the show, we began to see more ‘wearable art’ looks which also followed the metamorphosis theme. The most outstanding of these, in my opinion, was Orin’s puffer two-piece and legwarmers, which held a fantastically inflated silhouette. The use of bin bags to make a futuristic and almost insectile outfit seemed like a perfectly executed realisation of ‘Trashion’; an unexpected use of materials to create something astonishing and avant-garde. Other wearable art pieces also worked to transform scrap materials, such as Grace and Amelia’s cardboard rosette dress. Not only was the use of cardboard an ambitious take on ideas of physical transformation, but it also platformed the balance between masculine and feminine components, such as the delicate pink bows that held the more structured and heavy-duty material in place. The outcome: a totally unique piece that floated down the runway led by the creative efforts of its model. The pieces worked in synthesis to create a colourful array of creative change, utilising discarded objects to create a runway that maintained a sense of elegance and a ‘high-fashion’ atmosphere. 

Along with crochet, I noticed an abundance of ballet-core, princessy details throughout the show, with many looks containing tiny bows, baby pinks, silks, and lacing. We have seen this most recently on the runway in the hands of Miu Miu (AW22) and Maison Margiela (SS23). The extra effort of these details again added to the revolutionary aspect of                   

Metamorphosis, the focus on slow change in a world of fast fashion was so special. The show also had many punky pieces which played homage to the late Vivienne Westwood, with plaids, bustles, and chunky silver hardware making frequent entrances. It was these consistencies within the runway that carried throughout the show that really played to Metamorphosis’ theme, making it feel timeless and elegant as well as relevant and compatible with its Strangebrew setting, which was decked out in hanging vines and flowers. Strangebrew as a space aims to celebrate Bristol’s creativity and weirdness, so having the show here felt incredibly apt, and added a layer to its artistic capabilities. Overall, it was a massive success, and the designers and FFS team should feel incredibly proud of what they’ve accomplished! 

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