As the lights went down around the catwalk at Somerset House, the months of hard work, passion and determination of the three finalists came down to the next hour.
Three collections were about to walk the runway in front of an audience including Burberry‘s Chief Creative Officer and Fashion Fringe’s chair, Christopher Bailey, who would then choose and crown the winner of Fashion Fringe 2012.
First up was Haizhen Wang. Structured designs walked to the beat, clear in their inspiration from the work of Spanish born architect Santiago Calatrava and the embellishments of Japanese samurai armour. Sharp lined shades of black and grey were donned by the dishevelled-haired models wearing leather jackets, dresses and chunky heels. When it came to colour, it was blue that made an appearance within the timeless, modern collection.
Next to show her work was Teija Eilola. Bringing the catwalk to life through her Finnish roots, her simple, elegant and feminine designs of an earthly palette spoke of something rather natural. Tailored, wearable dresses of fine draping and intricate details were paired with her accessories.
It was Vita Gottlieb who closed the show. Inspired by Paul Poiret’s 1002nd night party, and the merging of cultures, her collection featured prints and structured designs with the interesting use of fabrics. Figure hugging skirts, billowing dresses and strong shouldered pieces all walked the catwalk in the closing of the show. After a final walkout from all three designers and their collections, the room erupted in applause.
With a live musical interlude from Bastille, Bailey had a moment to decide the winner before being welcomed to the stage by Colin McDowell. Following speeches from both on the incredible journey of the designers and the relationships that have been made from the start of the process, Bailey, with comments on the difficulty of the decision, announced Haizhen Wang as the 2012 Fashion Fringe winner.
A hard decision to make after three completely unique and deserving collections, it was a truly momentous way to bring the season and London Fashion Week to a close.
Following in the footsteps of 2011 winners Fyodor Golan, it’s undoubted that Haizhen Wang is be a name the industry will become well-accustomed to in the future.