Istituto Marangoni unveiled the collections of its ten most outstanding designers in their graduate showcase this month. Trudy Ross spoke to School Director Valérie Berdah Levy and Designer of the Year Hyun Jik Yoo on sustainability, creativity, and digital fashion
If you were anywhere near Pennington Street last Tuesday 11th of July, you would have caught sight of a number of impeccably dressed young people, formidable in dark glasses, loose bold cuts and striking accessories, walking the streets of East London. There would be no need to ask where they were going.
Unit 2, 110 Pennington Street, E1, was buzzing with the sexy and stylish milieu of London in anticipation of Istituto Marangoni’s graduate showcase. The large queue was slowly brought into the dark, industrial chic venue, lit by huge digital screens and pumping with music, to await the uniquely ‘phygital’ fashion show, also being streamed live in the Metaverse.
Ten students from the renowned fashion school were chosen to have their collections debuted to the audience, with each creating six designs engaging with the theme DISTORT/DISRUPT. The chosen few, all with their own unique style, were Angelynne Viorenique Andersen, Anna Savchenko, Giju Kim, Hammotal Blair Hen, Hyun Jik Yoo, Jiaxi Zhuang, Lucrezia Grazioli, Natálie Kabeláčová, Rudraksh Singh, and Ummehani Kanchwala.
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As the models, prepped and preened by The London Academy of Freelance Makeup and Unite Haircare, walked the runway, the walls behind them projected digital interpretations of the designs they wore, featuring shots and videos of the models edited into colourful and dramatic landscapes. This, compounded by the sea of mobile phones snapping and streaming the event, marked a clear step into the realm of the digital experience, even in the physical space of the show.
When asked about the future of digital fashion, Director of the Istituto Marangoni London Valérie Berdah Levy told LUX: “…the Metaverse is the future. We started having fashion shows on the Metaverse just two years ago. We opened the school in Dubai last year and we had the first show on the Metaverse; it’s definitely the future for this. Even at school level, shortly we will have classes on the Metaverse and in the Metaverse.”
The show also engaged with sustainability and responsible fashion, with Anna Savchenko from Russia using paper as the primary material in her designs, while Czech student Natálie Kabeláčová used only sustainable fabrics in her sherpa-inspired designs, and Angelynne Viorenique used scrap fabrics and yarns from the university to create her colourful and extravagant collection ‘Shedding’. The Istituto is introducing a new MA in Responsible Fashion this October; Valérie Berdah Levy noted the importance of teaching students to be both responsible and creative.
The winner of the Designer of the Year Award was announced as Hyun Jik Yoo, who completed a lap of the catwalk to roaring applause, accompanied by the model wearing his favourite design. His dramatic, brooding collection was inspired by Jack the Ripper, the East London murderer who Hyun Jik told us has lived near his home in Whitechapel, not far from the show’s venue. He explained that he was playing with ideas of concealing and revealing in his designs to speak to the murderer’s desire to be known and feared, while also hidden and anonymous. This translated into the use of sheer fabric and rips in his designs, working alongside thick layers and dark hoods.
Hyun Jik shyly told LUX that he was “really proud” of himself, and said his next steps were to rest up and then, “if I have a chance, if someone wants my brand name, I would like to set up my own brand.”
Find out more: www.istitutomarangoni.com