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The Royal College of Art Pitches a Two-Hour ‘Immersive Experience’ Show

Sinéad O’Dwyer's Collection for The Royal College of Art Fashion Show

LONDON — The departed from tradition for this year’s annual fashion show showcasing works from 50 students across men’s wear, women’s wear, footwear and accessories.

Swapping the traditional catwalk for an immersive experience, the event was dubbed “A Walk Without a Cat,” and was filled with dance performances, talks and installations.

The show was held at 180 Strand, home of London Fashion Week, and upon arrival, guests were escorted through revolving doors where they were greeted by women’s wear student Sinéad O’Dwyer’s collection — a group of nude models wearing transparent body-cast molds made from fiberglass.

Guests were directed to the main seating area where they walked past works by accessories student Ramlah Wraich, who presented a collection of body-part embellished clutches, and footwear student Tabitha Ringwood’s twisted leather shoes.

The show started with a musical performance by women’s wear student Thibaut Knapp. Women’s wear student Renata Brenha Ribeiro’s collection, inspired by Latin American food and rituals, followed soon after. Models wore large headpieces that looked like dried chillies with bunched and textured dresses. Guests were presented with trays of mashed-up food that tasted like meat, but servers were unable to identify the exact ingredients.

Men’s wear student Anna Talvi took to the stage with her space-inspired collection. Garments were made to counteract the effects of a zero-gravity environment, and she included suction-cup footwear accessories to ground the wearer. She also showed formfitting and posture-adjusting tops and trousers.

Following her talk, accessories student Alice V Robinson explained her production process, from buying a lamb to its slaughter and the tanning process and finally, the use of its hide, wool and bones to create her leather capsule collection. She then asked the audience to sample the meat with trays of mini lamb-burgers.

A dance performance was conducted by men’ wear student Saul Nash displaying his activewear collection. Elsewhere, women’s wear student Bianca Büche and Jingye Ye presented their dress collections.

More accessories, footwear and intelligent materials collections were presented as installations in the next room. Highlights included crystals by accessories student Alice Potts that were made from processed human sweat that looked like clear and amethyst quartz.

The two-hour immersive experience ended with a virtual reality simulation by John-Paul Trang who fitted himself and a friend with a VR rig and live-streamed their perspective to audience members. The presentation challenged consumers and designers to consciously interact with their clothing and Trang proposed that, “there is only one true luxury — knowing what you want and making it yourself.”

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