Saturday, 25 June 2011

Chesterfield College/Winding Wheel - Fashion Show Essay

On Tuesday 21st June, I visited the Fashion Show at the Winding Wheel. This show was designed to show the work of students on the Fashion, Hair and Beauty, Textiles and Art and Design courses. Because of the nature of the show, I didn’t get to see any development work, and it was very hard to speak to the designers and artists who created the work.

This show was quite restricted in terms of the specialisms it could display. Creatives worked with fabric or hair, and usually to a theme, with not much room for expansion. There was some variation in the pieces, but they all recognisably ran on the same theme. The show was divided into projects that would be shown, so the audience could easily relate the work back to the theme it was based on, though sometimes this was quite obvious because of the work on show, or the accompanying music (‘Get Me To The Church on Time’ played during the wedding segment). 

In terms of layout, the show was very different from the other two. Where the others were free roaming shows where visitors were free to walk where they pleased and spend as long as they liked looking at (and photographing) the work they loved, the fashion show was much more structured, and work was only on display for a few minutes at a time, so photographers had to be vigilant.
The show was arranged as a catwalk down the centre of the room, with seating around, and a dressing room away from the main stage, that lead onto a red carpet up to the catwalk itself. I liked this layout considerably more than the previous shows, because this left no room for us to miss any of the work on display. I did find, though, that the bright stage lights used to light the models was very interfering and washed out my photos considerably, making the work I chose to photograph very hard to make out in places.

Because of the nature of the show, it was hard to select pieces relevant to my usual specialist subject interests, so instead I have chosen to review the pieces that interested me the most.


These were the two hairdressing sections, created by Level 3 Hairdressing. The first one, ‘Peek-a-boo’ wasn’t so exciting to me. On the programme it was described as “A range of precision cuts and contemporary colours inspired by the 1980s”

(own photograph)
My only problem with this section was that the pieces all seemed very similar. The cuts were all in a simple bob style and the colours were equally simple browns, blacks and bright platinum blondes. There’s no doubt these cuts were very well done, and I can’t deny that I can’t cut hair that precisely, but I found there wasn’t much diversity in these pieces, which was my disagreement with it.
I also think that the way the hair was presented was very distracting. The models were made up with huge lips and did a modern style dance that involved tilting the head and walking in rhythm in quite a military way. There was also a part of the dance where the models stood in a line, which obscured some of the styles, depending on where you were seated. I felt personally that this was very irrelevant to the hair on display, and made it hard to focus on the styles themselves.

The second hairdressing section was titled ‘Multi dimensional’. These pieces, according to the programme, were inspired by Vidal Sassoon, who “revolutionised the hairdressing industry in the 1960s”.

(own photograph)
 Compared to Vidal Sassoon’s work, these hairstyles were absolutely insane, but I understand their concept. The Hairdressing students were looking to recreate Vidal’s style of geometric shapes in the hair, but the students have truly taken it to the extreme to create a truly inspiring display.
(own photograph)
This was my favourite piece from this section. The sheer patience and attention to detail it must have taken to create all of these sticks of hair is outstanding. Once again, in comparison to Sassoon’s work, I can see the geometric influence.


The next piece I have chosen is from the Individual Final Collections by National Diploma Fashion Year 2. These two pieces are by Charlotte Burton, and are titled ‘Structured Flow’.

These pieces are titled ‘Structured Flow’, which suggests a controlled way of letting the fabric flow, which can be seen by the frills on both dresses, which flow as they walk, but within the conforms of the dress itself. However, the model on the left could barely keep up with the other model, as her dress was tailored so tightly at her ankles that she could only shuffle down the catwalk very carefully. This, in my opinion, didn’t allow the frills of the dress to ‘flow’ as well as the frills on the other dress. However, the way of holding back how quickly one can walk in a dress could easily be another way of structuring the flow of the fabric, which relates nicely back to the collection’s name.


The last piece I have chosen to review is ‘Milk and Cream’ – the wedding collection on display at the show. I have always been a fan of wedding dress design and styling, and the diversity that is on offer for anyone looking for a unique dress for a special occasion. These particular dresses were created by A2 and AS Textiles and were “inspired by their investigation of social class”.

In this collection, the diversity created by the investigation into social class was quite visible. Some dresses had a Victorian feel, with longer sleeves and a long skirt, while others were more modern, with a much shorter ‘party dress’ feel – lots of frills and a lot more skin on display. In one case, the skirt part of the dress had been tailored into trousers, which would easily suit the less feminine brides. I enjoyed this section the most for its display of diversity using such similar fabrics and purpose.


Overall, I found the fashion show very enjoyable. It was interesting to see how these students responded to their briefs, and I could easily see how the product related back to the theme, without having to see any development work. Though Fashion and Hair have never really been subjects I have much interest in, the fashion show gave me the inspiration to experiment with textiles more in my own work in future.


  1. Hi there, I was part of this fashion show ( I can actually see my work in the last picture which is interesting). I came across this completely by accident but it really made me smile :)

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