Until 28 August 2011
Since 1993, the Powerhouse Museum has provided a glimpse of Australia’s ‘up and coming’ fashion designers through the annual Student Fashion display, featuring the final year ranges of top students from Sydney’s fashion design schools. Past exhibitors who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in fashion both here and overseas include Michelle Jank, Toni Maticevski and Dion Lee.
This year’s top student designers include: Anna Westcott from the Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW, Sydney Institute; Crystal Tsoi of Raffles College of Design and Commerce; Karima-Chloe Hazim from the University of Technology, Sydney; and Alexandra West from the Whitehouse Institute of Design.
Alexandra West’s graduate collection titled ‘The Woven’ sees her experimenting with contrasting fabrics and silhouettes. Wide bands of elastic sewn into body conscious styles that control and restrain the form are mixed with loose flowing draped fabrics featuring a rose print inspired by Rorschach ink blot tests. Arthurian legends inspired her knitted garments including a sculptural dress in grey wool featuring hand knitted strips draped and woven across the shoulders evoking the colour and texture of chain mail and the protective form of body armour.
Anna Westcott’s designs are inhabited by the characters she creates to tell a story through her clothes. Her graduate range ‘Paradigm’ is based on a surreal cast of characters connected by a boy who is so frightened of the future he changes public and private clocks, trapping the characters in their own world’s. Believing she can fly Anna’s nun character folds and pleats her habit into a white caped top which she uses to fly away, while her lush green digitally printed trousers evoke the strange garden she is fleeing from. Anna won the Fashion Design Studio’s eveningwear award with her My Fair Lady style dress. Themed ‘The Collector’, students had to think about sustainable design and create a garment from scrap and leftover fabrics. Once again Anna created a mood through the character of a woman haunted by memories of her lover lost on the battlefields of WW11. Wearing a dress constructed from scrap knit she appears a fragile ephemeral figure infused with feelings of love, longing and loss.
World War 11 is also the key theme in Karima-Chloe Hazim’s graduate collection entitled ‘Atelier de 1939’. Based on her dissertation ‘Wearing the War-Fashioning La Parisienne during the Second World War’ she explored the idea that the rich continued their lavish couture spending in the French fashion houses the Nazi’s allowed to remain open while the poor had to make do with rationing and shortages. Reflecting this dichotomy, she created a large enveloping coat made from an original army blanket dyed red and embellished with gold embroidery to reflect both the army’s military coats, the rationed blanket coats worn by the poor as well as the richly embellished couture of the wealthy.
Crystal Tsoi plays with the curves and proportions of the female form in her ‘Intangible Contortion’ collection creating sculptural forms that enhance and exaggerate the human body. Inspired by mathematics she created flat geometric shapes to build a three dimensional form in what she has dubbed her ‘Big Bird’ dress. It features thousands of rectangular and diamond shapes cut in tulle and sewn together creating an effect like a paper lantern. Intrigued by the intangible qualities of dress Crystal has created large cut outs in the dress which continually change shape as the wearer moves.