Masters and Apprentices

It wasn’t so long ago that “Student show” was one of the most dreaded entries in a fashion editor’s diary. Chicken-wire trousers, franger frocklets, millinery made of car parts and whole, taxidermied birds; the average flight of student creativity could be embarrassing to witness and horrendous to report without the sort of damaging criticism likely to bruise tender egos. So, only the cruellest did so.
How marvellously strange then, that “Student Show” is now one of our favourite diary entries. The value of technical skills, market relevance and those intuitive arts of control and creative restraint, have transformed the average graduate show from doo-lally free-for-all, to genuine showcase of worthy future fashion.
Voxfrock will give you diary alerts as students from some of Australia’s top fashion schools including Sydney University of Technology, RMIT, Box Hill Tafe, and Whitehouse, present their graduate collections, usually in showcases open to the public and invariably as intriguing – if not more so – than any runway by established designers.
“Masters & Apprentices”, for example, is an upcoming show and exhibition by six recent graduates of the Australian Academy of Design. It’s a cut above your average graduate show however, because these particular fledgelings have already been “harvested”, at least temporarily, as interns, by the fashion industry. The show will present collections by Carly Harman who was selected to intern by no less than Alex Perry, Samantha Tibbles who interned with Anna Campbell, Melati De Jong who was picked for a stint with LifeWithBird, Joseph Jang for Yeojin Bae, Paige Carroll who worked with the Mariana Hardwick team and Michelle Catling who scored her internship with Nevenka. How will their collections reflect their own design aesthetic, their mentor’s tutorship, and their interpretation of precisely what it is that girls and women crave, and are prepared to pay for, in their wardrobes?
Masters & Apprentices is associated with the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program. The runway show (Tickets $35 plus booking fee, Moshtix) on Friday March 8 at 7.15 pm., at the Academy, 220 Ingles St., Port Melbourne, will also launch a free public exhibition featuring pod collections by the mentors and interns in the Academy’s Clement Meadmore Gallery, at the same address, until March 15.

Extra Fresh
An exhibition of students designs, “Making it: 20 years of Student Fashion”, also launches at the Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney, from March 8 until October 7. The earliest work of more than 120 students selected for the annual exhibition since 1993 including Toni Maticevski and Dion Lee, will join pod collections by 2012’s top graduates from the Fashion Design Studio, TAFE NSW, Sydney Institute; the Raffles College of Design and Commerce; the University of Technology, Sydney; and the Whitehouse Institute of Design.
L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s National Graduate Showcase, sponsored by Sportsgirl, Saturday March 23, 7 pm., Central Pier, Docklands, tickets $40 up to $99 for premium packages, is a renowned barometer of future fashion talent. Twelve graduates will present their pods: Bernadette Francis, Cesar Chehade, Jack Hancock, Kara Liu, Natasha Fagg and Nixi Killick, all of RMIT University, Courtney Holm, Karen Yang and Kathleen Choo of the University of Technology Sydney, and Hayley Elsaesser, Koren Wheatley and Monique White, all of Queensland University of Technology.

Michaela Summers.