The Royal Academy of Fine Art The Hague’s Fashion & Textile Department held its annual graduate show this weekend and you know we were front and centre just like last year, opera goggles clutched, to witness it all. A fresh wave of Dutch and international talent is primed to take off with expert guidance at the top from the best of Belgium, Head of Textile and Fashion Jurgi Persoons and faculty members including Marina Yee, Peter De Potter, Jan-Jan Van Essche and Hilde Frunt and here’s what you need to know.
Before the flurry of the show took off, we were treated to a personal tour of the “EXPOSED” exhibition, where the four graduating masters of the class of 2017 prefaced their collections. Each master was introduced by Mr. Persoons – whose personal investment in every single of his graduates is indisputable as ever as he nudged each one of them to shine.
Roos Boshart explained how she was inspired by going back to the essence of wardrobe staples such as the suit or blue jeans, by stripping them of all context and presenting them in large vacuum wearable installations. Boshart’s intention is to question the audience: “Remember to think for yourself”. Aided by the poster image by Ronald Stoopsof Boshart’s vacuum trench ‘dress’ with sunglasses perched atop, the collection is surely one to be remembered.
Thalonja Slui showed us “Out of Touch”, pieces inspired by outsider art and how people wrongly perceive those of us living with mental illness as out of touch with reality. A glossy firetruck red circular-cut puffa coat lead the concept, complimented with items like a reverse-collar oversize navy jumper, a ruched yellow tabard and reconstructed beige trench. This collection was a particular highlight, as execution aligned squarely with vision and the styling. If you lay the different pieces flat on the floor, the word “TOUCH” is spelled out via the garments.
The third member of the small graduate class, Veronika Konvickova, was mainly inspired by nature, organic shapes and silence. The world is awash with noise; everyone is in a constant rush and Konvickova aims to urge her audience to literally stop and smell the roses. Taking a moment to appreciate the beauty in silence, in nature, in “Silent Wonderlust”.
Final graduate Rachael Cheong went down a more sinister route and based her collection on the idea of doll collectors and the way those porcelain enigmas are sure to know each of your dirty little secrets. Inspired by the manga comic “Monster” by Naoki Urasawa, Cheong implores us to not become dolls devoid of emotions by only showing one glossy side of ourselves on social media. The table-linen cloth used for the garments harked back to the way Rei Kawakubo toys with gingham and the pointed shoulder lines were a stirring touch.
The show itself, with the natural focal point being the graduate collections, showed promise in bright flickers in each year. Particular standouts were Trumaine Huijts, whose long-sleeved concoctions we eagerly want to see more of and second-year student Lina Lau who showed deft skill at volume and transparency with a collection titled “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.”
SHOW 2017 was complimented once more by the publication “4 MAGAZINE”, art directed by master Peter De Potter in collaboration with graphic designer Jelle Jespers, which expresses every student’s ultimate vision for their collections through editorials, posters and Q&A’s and a personal “Letter from Jurgi”. The magazine will become available for purchase in selected international book stores (full list here).
Open till Wednesday June 21
de Constant Rebequeplein 20
Student exhibitions, performances, guided tours, lunch meetings, artist talks and a football tournament
June 30 – July 7
Royal Academy of Art
Pro Tip: if you’re planning a trip to The Hague this year, go visit the Gemeentemuseum where the “Fashion In Style” exhibition will open soon. It explores the influence of Mondrian and the important Dutch art movement De Stijl on fashion through the ages. The expo, part of an entire year and multiple exhibitions dedicated to De Stijl will run from July 15 until August 13. Info & tickets here.
Runway images: catwalkpictures.com