BFW2013: Showreel

Words > Jennie Davies
Photos > Emma Bailey copyright Pretty Litter Magazine

Taking the Saturday night spotlight at BFW 2013 was the Showreel show, another new addition to the annual event. Ten costume designers from all over the globe showcased their talents on the catwalk with the addition of theatrical performance. These clothes were not for every-day wear which made it an extravagant and spectacular show!

I’ll try to describe the night’s events as best I can but believe me, Showreel is really something you really need to see with your own eyes. It’s definitely not like any other fashion show I’ve been to which is what made it so special! Not only did we have costume designers from the UK on the line-up but we were also treated to; Mille.Yoko, who flew all the way from Brazil, Uta Bekaia who is based in New York and Katarzyna Konieczka who is of Polish origin and was also our headliner for the evening. How much more international do you want to get?

Tracy Cochrane, Christina A Pistofidou and Max Robinson are just a few of the other designers on display but my favourites of the night were Sarina Poppy, Curve Couture, Jylle Navarro, Uta Bekaia, Louise O’Mahony and Katarzyna Konieczka.

Sarina Poppy is never one to disappoint. This is her fourth showcase at BFW and her ‘Diamonds and Champagne’ collection was a Great Gatsby delight with beaming dancers doing the Charleston down the catwalk around a very charmingly dressed Bride and Groom. The satin drop-waist dresses were in pretty pastels embellished with fringing and lace. I felt like I had been transported back to a 1920s wedding and simply wanted to join in with the celebrations.

Curve Couture brought us out of our 1920s stupor and what came on to the catwalk was extremely very sexy. Lace stockings were teamed with sultry corsets with an aristocratic country twist interpreted with tweed, leather and riding crops. The models’ make-up was beautifully done with shimmering gold highlights paired with deep, smokey eyes, with hair styled into a suave bouffant with double fishtail plaits. They wreaked of sophistication and sex!

Ending the first half of the night was unisex knitwear designer, Jylle Navarro. All of her pieces are one of a kind and put together using hand knitting, machine knitting and macramé techniques. Her ‘Alien Invasion’ collection was a techno, neon and acid ensemble. Skirts that looked like lampshades spun in the most amazing way when the models moved. Modelling some of the wonderful wares was MC Gaff E who performed one of her songs, “Beast Desire”, whilst a group of models danced up and down the catwalk. It was very exciting and energetic and by time it was done I was ready for a rave up!

Launching into the second half was the epic performance from Uta Bekaia and Ideal Glass New York who showcased the ‘Purple Jester’. A man dressed as the titular Purple Jester narrated a story about lost love. It was highly Shakespearean and very dramatic with amazing costumes of monochrome jesters, brides and Siamese twins. It was really quite beautiful and clever how the tale was told with the costumes highlighting key story points.

This year saw Louise O’Mahony’s second showcase at BFW and her new collection ‘Nova’ was an excellent follow up from last year’s Mad Men inspired range. ‘Nova’ was still in O’Mahony’s trademark vintage style but with the additional influence of mermaids and the cosmic. The models wore pastel pink and blue wigs as they walked down the catwalk to Cirrus by Bonobo, adorned in fitted corsets and full skirts that had been embellished with jewels and sequins for a very subtle futuristic look. You could hear lots of cooing from the audience, as it was a really girly girl’s dream.

Last and not least was our headliner for the evening, Katarzyna Konieczka. Her intention when designing is to influence the recipient and to evoke an emotional reaction, and it most certainly did! Her collection was incredibly beautiful but also terrifying, which would explain the title of her collection, ‘La Beauté Terrifiante’. All her pieces were hand made and you could tell that a lot of work had gone into each one. Model’s heads were restricted with surgical looking contraptions whilst the body was adorned in figure hugging metal work or latex. It was very Sci-Fi, reminding me a lot of the artist, HR Giger.

When the show finished there was exciting chatter coming from the audience. It was certainly our favourite night of the week and it had left us on a high; what an exhilarating way to end what turned out to be a very quick week. Brighton Fashion Week has once again put on a rollicking fashion roller coaster, and as the carriage grinds to halt, I can’t help but wonder what twists, turns, thrills and surprises will be in store for us at BFW 2014. Watch this space!

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