On Sunday at London Fashion Week, Westminster alumni Claire Barrow presented her new collection Broken Machines at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The collection focused on our ever-increasing reliance on technology – and our darkest fears about what will happen if it breaks down.
The collection comprised both glamorous silk evening gowns and suits mixed with heavy leather, denim and stretched, thick jersey. Hand-knitted wire jewellery and leather handbags accessorised the knee-high printed socks and tights, against a clashing colour scheme of greys, blacks, pinks, lilac, blues and greens. Claire's pieces skewed the concept of 'distressed', with denim washed with stones and sand in a cement mixer in Claire's own back garden.
Tuesday started with Ashley Williams, who graduated from Westminster in 2012, showing a collection called Bad Mood, featuring the new William's Anti-princess. "It's not about being lol right now, it's all about being devd. Or rather…dead," said Ashley of her collection. Bored of surface, bored of jokes and bored of being bored, Ashley decided to scratch the veneer of her previous sartorial world, peopled with impossibly perfect princesses.
Next up was Mary Benson who graduated from Westminster in 2014, showing her SS16 collection called Letters from the Darkest Corners of My Heart. Themes of heartbreak with an abstract vision reoccur with opulent splashes of colour. Mary's prints consisted of watching eyes disguised as weird florals. Behind luminescent patternage lurk the subtexts and hidden depths of drama that Mary Benson is known for. Her evocative take on love lost, trust and relationships was strangely dark and twisted. This season Mary also collaborated with milliner Stephen Jones and jewellers Tatty Divine to create a full-on rhapsody of fashion euphoria.
Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, Roberta Einer, who graduated from Westminster in May, showed her debut runway collection in the Café Royal. Having worked with Olivier Rousteing at Balmain during her internship year, her debut collection reimagines and refines Americana staples such as logo emblazoned jackets and cheerleader skirts, using intricate embroidery and beading, and hand-dyed sequins form illustration on tulle net dresses. Described by Roberta as "irreverent, intense and youthful", the collection adopted traditional craft techniques and displayed a wealth of contradictory reference points from soviet pop art to create her own unique narrative.
Further alumni from Westminster who showed their latest collections during London Fashion Week included Christopher Bailey at Burberry, Markus Lupfer, Vivienne Westwood and Katie Hillier of Hillier Bartley.
Learn more about the Fashion Design BA Honours course.