On June 12th 16 female graduates of Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam presented their graduation collections, alongside a selection of designs by 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students. ‘Fifty-Fifty’ was the theme of this year’s fashion show. This means there was an equal amount of male and female collections. The designers also crossed the boundaries of male and female by injecting female elements into menswear and vice versa. Will trans gender fashion be the new current?

I was most excited about seeing the menswear collections. Teal, light blue and turquoise were remarkably the most used fashion colours among the more basic colours like grey, brown, white and black. Dandyism and urban sportswear go hand in hand. Male skirts and dresses appeared on the catwalk as expected. Many designers have tried this in the past, but it will most likely never take over the high street look. The ‘Untouchable’ collection of Mirte van Wijngaarden had apocalyptic, nomadic and vagabond influences. Marion Visser used and combined geometric prints & patterns in her colourful designs themed ‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.’

Marion Visser
Marion Visser

Although unisex fashion might be our worst nightmare in the sense of 2-for-1 windbreaker couples, Yakima Poulous created a complete and nifty unisex collection named ‘S.HE’. She sent her fashion twins down the catwalk in a lot of leather and knits in black and grey.

Elles Dekker showed a sober and simplistic ladieswear collection called ‘De Constructed’. Lovely pleated and draped detailing is combined with patent leather, grey and burnt orange. The collection ‘Complex Simplicity’ of Mariska Vijverberg shows coats, trousers and blouses in grey, nude and white with an accent on the shoulder. Taina Maraschini managed to create a collection in one colour only, bottle green, that continued to fascinate by the use of an origami like constructivism.

Elles Dekker

Mariska Vijverberg

We saw a lot of beautiful fabricated coats and jackets with high attention to detail and cut. Trousers are cropped to show a bit of ankle or socks. Mixed materials like heavy or fine knit with (patent) leather, sheer fabrics and satin were very popular amongst the designers. So was colour blocking.

The frivolousness we see in the designs of the 1st to 3rd year students seems to have faded to the background by the time they reach their final year. Most graduates have created highly wearable and commercial collections that aren’t always as fashion forward as one would expect. That said, the highly detailed and beautifully finished pieces prove that these designers are ready to enter fashion world.

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