BEYOND BLISS: IFA PARIS BACHELOR FASHION DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS PRESENT FINAL STUDENT COLLECTIONS IN STUNNING RUNWAY SHOW
In the glam, gilded ballroom adjacent to Vivienne Westwood’s Paris headquarters on the famous Rue du Mail, twelve students showed 61 looks for a fast paced show that took the audience from woodlands to wildflowers, from the sea to the stars and eventually “Beyond Bliss” as each student shared their interpretation of the school’s selected theme.
If students showed us their ideas of ‘beyond bliss,’ but seemed to experience their own bliss – the joy showed on their faces as they took their final bows on the runway and walked up and down the catwalk with their models.
Davinia Vitrac and her design
For Davinia Vitrac, who wowed the audience with her wildly imaginative use of hair to create a monochromatic look inspired by mythical woodland creatures, the warm welcome from the crowd was nearly as magical at the end. “It was overwhelming because I’ve never walked down a catwalk before. All the work that we’ve done and all the buildup – it’s three years we’ve been working and it’s all gone in ten minutes!” she said. “The round of applause was incredible because I’ve loved this course so much and learnt so much, and it’s sort of all accumulated in today.”
For Vitrac, it had been a long process of creation from conception to creation. “I have been sewing for nine months and braiding hair for even longer,” she said, about the collection that used plaits and dreds and turned them into gowns and Elizabethan collars. “It was difficult. Initially I thought about using the machine and sewing the hair right onto the fabric, but because the body isn’t straight there’s darts and curves, it was easier to sew by hand,” she said of her handcrafted collection. Vitrac’s dresses were some of the most intricate and innovative in their use of the unexpected material.
“It’s so exciting having the idea and having it materialize, so in a way it is a lot of work but you don’t mind doing it because you can’t wait for the end result,” she said.
Rajiv Surjoo and his design
Three years, several months, weeks, days and countless hours of sewing for this final walk. Other students, such as Rajiv Surjoo who showed a detailed and embellished collection, were also feeling blissful after their final walks.
William Law’s Design
“I didn’t sleep for days on end! To finish the last look it took me six hours of just not stopping- starting at 10pm and finishing at 6 in the morning,” he said, but all was forgotten the moment the sharp skirt suits hit the runway. “I did a collection in my home of Mauritius, but here it is more professional and the school is so good.”
Thelma Bjornsdottir and her design
As the champagne was popped at the back of the room and guests filled the courtyard to toast the students, student Thelma Bjornsdottir sat with her family planning a few days of sightseeing as it was their first visit to Paris. Her collection of contrasting gowns with bright yellow highlights was also inspired by her family. “I found out my brother was going to have a baby and my visual inspiration was the dandelion plant and the fertilization process. It was just the sheer joy of knowing my brother was going to be a gather and that felt like to me to be beyond bliss,” she said recalling her design process. “I’m still shaking,” she said, the excitement of walking down the runway not wearing off. “It’s a big relief because it’s been a lot of work, but it is just wonderful to be here.”
Florentina Indrawan and her design
For Florentina Indrawan, who showed bold shapes with exaggerated shoulders, her design inspiration reflected the process that all the students had gone through. “You have to feel a certain hardship before you feel happiness – before you get ‘beyond bliss’ – it is actually a process,” she said – a process that for her took about two months for each of her four looks. “I was thinking of a spiral staircase, when you are below and look up and you see a light shining down from there, that’s where my collection comes from.” It showed in her intricate pleating. “I don’t know how to feel, I am still kind of nervous now,” she said, even after the show was over. The students were still feeling the excitement.
William Ho Ming Law and his design
In the end it was Vitrac, along with William Ho Ming Law, who each won one of two scholarships for the Postgraduate in Contemporary Fashion Design program. Law also used hair in his collection, though as an accent on light, airy gowns which contrasted with is strong pleated pantsuit and structured gown with strategic cutouts that made it elegantly racy. The two will be back at IFA to present more innovative looks in the fall.
Surjoo summed up the experience for all the students who were able to see their collections come to fruition: “It’s enough just to be here. Just to present is Paris is an amazing experience.”
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