|Illustration by Andy Bumpus|
|Illustration by Yiunam Leung|
|Photography by Lucas Seidenfaden|
Everest green fur with peach slices is one statement staring back at you as you pace around the graduate showcase. The impact can’t help but draw you nearer, and on closer inspection you are confronted with a wealth of complex techniques that have come together to create this startling effect. In fact its not fur at all, rather layer upon layer of silk fringing, hand dyed and dried to create this animalistic effect. The texture and volume create the luxurious finish that talented designer Helen Turner must have hoped for. Inspired by African masquerade costume and the book Maske by Phyllis Galembo, the RCA graduate’s MA collection heavily echoes these raw influences. “I wanted it to resemble fur and I think it has.” Twisting and platting hair has also been a strong reference for her and aspects of this can be seen in some of her other cable knit pieces weaved together in earth tones and dripping in delicate orange fringing. Talking to Helen you can’t help but notice the reaction this tactile collection is unassuming receiving. Each gushing onlooker feels obliged to touch the garments, each shocked that silk is the guilty fabric responsible for such a textured finish. “Today has been amazing, just to see everyone’s reactions,” she says with a coy smile.
As part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout mentoring scheme, Helen also spoke about here experiences with VFS. “It’s been really useful, especially around business practicalities. I have done some things like this before but this is much more in depth.” Now she is waiting for advice on her next steps. Hoping to go on and establish her own label, but aware of the amount of work it takes, for now it is something for the near future. What’s next for Helen? Undeniably she has lots in store, but for now she is going to enjoy this weekend. “When I’m ready to do my own label I’m going to throw everything onto it.”
Text: Samantha Farr