NOW is the time
Sheer fabrics, one-legged skirts and intricate knits were just some of the rather eclectic mix to come down the catwalk at the WDKA's yearly fashion show.
The Fenixloodsen in Rotterdam - a large disused wharf overlooking the Rotterdam skyline - was the rather industrial setting for this year's Willem de Koning Academy graduation festival.
Some 25 students of the WDKA - of which some graduates, first, second and third year's - presented their collections during the yearly fashion show. With a wide range of views on fashion, as well as some difference in quality of execution, all-in-all the show had a very professional feel thanks to closely choreographed models, good hair and make-up and overall ace styling.
First to send her models down the concrete catwalk was menswear designer and WDKA-graduate Veerle Janssen. With many fashion designers appealing to androgyny, the collection 'Man Wearing a Corset' builds upon this theme as it aims to free the corset from its female stereotype. Janssen designs corsets for men to help accentuate their body, feel sexy and above all manly and tough. Combined with workwear, jeans and parkas, the corsets certainly formed an eye-catching accessory.
Combining a minimalist cut with maxi-lengths, Valerie Romers' collection Comfortable Discomfort was elegant and sophisticated thanks to well-suited materials such as dyed linen. The designer made a bold statement with her pieces which featured cut-outs and slits in unexpected places, skirts combined with trouser legs, and some restrictive pieces which still seemed, well, comfortable.
Approaching fashion from a completely different viewpoint was Diana Tax, whose menswear collection named FSHRMN comprised a number of intricately knitted pullovers and cardigans. Based on Dutch fishermen ganseys, with a unique pattern in each part of the country these sweaters would be a means of identification for drowned or washed-up fishermen. The sheerness of the knit combined with interesting colour combinations and patterns reveal Tax' great love of old techniques such as knitting and embroidery.
Another graduate playing with knitwear but in a more futuristic setting was Joyce Jansen whose collection Futusristic Visions featured unisex jumpsuits, trousers and 1960s inspired necklines. With models looking as if they'd stepped straight out of a stylish sciencefiction movie, Jansen's fascination for space travel was apparent.
A more romantic take on fashion was presented by Ling Ling Yeh, whose exquisitely dyed fabrics, flowing textiles and colourblocking were inspired by the sunrise.
Also presenting a softer side of fashion was Marie-Lisah Hermkens' Omdat Iedereen het Doet… (Because Everyone Does It…). Sheer fabrics which show the naked body question the role nudity plays in today's society.
Also, Nadia Asserghine's models seemed to come down the runway looking almost ethereal, wearing creations made of ripped silk, enormous shoulders like angel's wings or interesting and somewhat unusual draping.
A final mention goes to the more whimsical fashion designers Romy van Eijk and Nanda van den Hoek. Van Eijk's collection I Am Not Myself was based on African tribal masks. A number of creations featuring painstaking tasslework made for extreme silhouettes, suitable for stage animals only.
In contrast, Van den Hoek's Ik ben Nanda (I am Nanda) featured clothing with 'drawn' on prints seemingly made with colouring pens. Using her own childhood drawings as inspiration and combining this with a 1940 silhouette, Van den Hoek created a collection that asks 'where is the line between imprisonment and freedom?'.
For a complete overview of this year's WDKA graduates visit www.krooning.nl.
Click on the images to enlarge
Main image: Nanda van den Hoek
Other images: 1.-2. Veerle Janssen 3.-4. Valerie Romer 5. Diana Tax 6. Joyce Jansen 7. Ling Ling Yeh 8. Marie-Lisah Hermkens 9. Nadia Asserghine 10.-11. Romy van Eijk
Photography: Peter Stigter
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