Last night, undeterred by the tube strike, we filed into the Earls Court 2 Exhibition Space to watch the annual Graduate Fashion Week show, celebrating the best in emerging British design talent. And boy were we impressed. Because not only were the next generation of budding Christopher Kanes and Alexander McQueens given a seriously bling-tastic stage on which to showcase their designs by sponsors River Island (we're talking revolving platforms and glitter-covered catwalks) but we were treated to truly ground-breaking collections by the young graduates.
Taking the womenswear award, and the overall winner of the £20,000 River Island Gold Prize, Myrto Samou of the University for the Creative Arts Rochester showed off a chic collection of commercially beautiful neutral-hued pieces, and impressed everyone with her Calvin Klein meets Narciso Rodriguez-style shapes and palettes. But the winner of the Pringle of Scotland Visionary Knitwear Award Sarah Burton, from the Manchester Metropolitan University of Art, really wowed us too with her fringed show-stoppers, showing careful attention to detail and silhouette, and drawing comparisons with knitwear king Mark Fast.
Designers and press alike cooed and scribbled down details in their moleskin notebooks, and as one of the judges on the panel noted at the end of the evening: 'We're not seeing one new McQueen coming through but six.' Given that everyone from Claudia Schiffer to Matthew Williamson was in attendance, we couldn't agree more.
- Katie Jackson