This prestigious school was the only international institution to present individually at GFW 2015. One of these scholars, we are informed, may be selected to showcase in London Fashion Week – an exciting prospect for any young fashion opportunist. The school has an excellent reputation, having bestowed students’ thesis projects in Mexico Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for many years.
This year, fashion apostle Palo Rosa presented designs that juxtaposed the concept of nuns with seductiveness – an innovative start.
Wide, A-line tulip shapes flowed creating immense and sweeping silhouettes; yet the cotton made it light and unfussy. Her use of colours was limited; mostly white and beige, allowing the audience focus on classic simplicity, and unnecessary fussiness. These pieces were carefully embroided using the traditional cross-stitching, layered with a much more translucent, sheen layer of organza. The two concepts, not typically associated, were ultimately presented as fashion forward.
“The Mistake” was the name for Paula Grieve Torres’ collection. She explains that her focus was on deconstructing the concept of what society sees as “looking right” – a considerable task to tackle. Thankfully, she proved herself able to do so. An unusual range of materials were used to contradict culture’s views on the mediocre ‘norms’ of today. These included mohair, wool crepe and triple organza silk. Some tight-fitting skirts became suddenly wide at the knee, and others were irregularly shaped with wide slits right up to the upper thigh.
Material was gathered at the hips with a train at the back, but shortened at the front, providing a sense of asymmetry to the whole collection.
Zips emerged from nowhere. In addition, footwear was made out of hair extensions to compliment the sense of the “accidental”. Torres’ link between concept and visuals was strong. We were confronted with unusual pieces that challenged our own sense of ordinary. This was not art to wear – instead, it was a form of contemporary art.
Overall, Velasco Gil’s “Cocaine Blues”, an appropriate referral to the late Johnny Cash, was the star of UCM’s womenswear. American cowboys inspired her pieces, but it was the unusual take on the theme that was impressive: subtly feminine, with an range of textures for different roles. Like Roa, Gil had embroidered cotton with square shapes for a mosaic like effect coupled with long fringing of a scarf-like belt, nostalgic of patterned blankets seen on cowboys’ horses backs. What could be alluded to as saddle bags were glamorous accessories on the catwalk; made of brightly coloured nylon ropes and interweaved with one another at the waist.
The material used was folded over thoughtfully, especially around the shoulders, to present a style that was not bulky but stylishly graceful, yet with clear associations to the original cowboy inspiration.
Menswear was unconventional. Students incorporated strong colours as a main function in their designs to emphasise boldness. One in particular used a latex and rubber banana yellow to catch our eye. “Neon Pipes” by Anrea Izquierdo Ruiz, was inspired by surfwear. Here, outerwear was oversized, with large cut-outs, making it quite revealing. Although these were men’s pieces, some of the detail resulted effeminately: cropped pieces that laid models’ midriffs bare and tight trousers cutting well above ankle. It reminded us of the beach in the summertime, and that surfing is a unisex sport – linking the sense of womanhood in a menswear presentation. The designer was inspired by Olympic athletes using kinesio, which refer to the use of medical tapes placed across the body to alleviate pain incurred during competitions. The element of sport was therefore clear, and strong.
All in all, University of Centro Mexico brought a strong show. Of course, it was exciting to engage with fashion from an exotic country. But more importantly, it was exciting to realize the country’s potential for good fashion through its students.
Photo credit to Mary Moir.