Bond girls, 1950s housewives, the moon landing & Mods - GSA Fashion Show 2017 takes a trip down memory lane as it celebrates its 70th anniversary  

Words: Carmen Haigh

Second and third year fashion and textile design students excitedly took to the catwalk this week for the Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show 2017, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Renowned for its showcase of dynamic and cutting-edge new talent, this year's show paid homage to the past whilst remaining defiantly fashion-forward. 

The mood was positively nostalgic. Staged in the legendary 'Vic' bar, a venue which has housed many of the previous shows, the Bowie-esque sheen on the models' cheekbones twinkled under spotlights as they strode the catwalk to the sound of late 70s and 80s dance tracks. 

The soundtrack and venue were not the only nod to GSA's yesteryears; among the models to walk in the show was Jill Gibson, who assisted in running the fashion show at the Vic in 1985, as well as GSA's very own head of Silversmith and Jewellery, Helen Marriott and recent MLitt Fine Art graduate, 70 year old Norman Sutton-Hibbert.  
 

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A total of 11 Fashion Design students and 30 Textile students, all in third year, each showcased three outfits as a thematically linked capsule collection. Also featured were a selection of designs by second year students which played on the themes of 'shirt' and 'silhouette'. 
 

In the spirit of the 70th anniversary, the bright young fashion visionaries of tomorrow were encouraged to delve into the past and create work under the theme of '1947-2017'. The students looked to a range of subjects including politics, film, television, art, music, science and technology to inform their individual takes on the brief. 

Among the eclectic inspiration behind the collections were Bond girls, Grease the musical, 1950s housewives, the moon landing, Mod subculture, abstract paintings and Japanese architecture. 

Whilst some designers focused solely on a particular period of time, such as Embroidered Textiles student Claudia Sabina Veneroni, whose beautifully intricate collection was inspired by 1950s home interiors, others incorporated a blend of elements borrowed from different eras, or in the case of Fashion Design student Kyeong Jung, explored the concept of time itself and its effect on garments. 
 

Jimmy Stephen-Cran, Head of Fashion and Textiles explained, "Some have used history like a dressing up box, shamelessly borrowing from the past whereas others have used history as a source to innovate". 
 

Fashion Design student Flint James McDonald's collection was particularly captivating. Inspired by 1980s New Romanticism, McDonald explored the interplay of masculine and feminine elements in historical dress by combining tailored pieces with pleated, layered skirts and fitted bodices. 
 

Though of all the decades, it was clear that the swinging 60s proved a particular source of inspiration to the young designers; the show was awash with bold graphic prints, playful shift dresses and rich saturated psychedelic colours. 



If you missed the catwalk shows you can still catch the accompanying exhibition featuring archival material such as posters, photographs and footage from GSA fashion shows across the years, in the Reid Building, until Sunday 26th March. www.gsa.ac.uk