The ShowReel Show

ShowReel is a new concept at Brighton Fashion Week. Unlike the previous shows, it is made to be unwearable; bold, theatrical and plain crazy is what encompasses the designs showed at ShowReel. Combining fashion and the stage, it succeeded it's expectations. Opening the show was Tracey Cochrane's "The Reincarnation" which consisted of earthy tones of oxblood and dark green combined with the elements of nature; feathers, leaves and dripping effects. With a gothic undertone, it inspired images of what "the reincarnation" is and the final design of a feathered black globe opening up and a white feathered gown transformed the collection.

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Mlle. Yoko's "Kaleidoscope Dolls" is exactly what you would expect of the name. Kaleidoscope patterns, doll-like painted faces and psychedelic colours. With an abundance of legging and tutu's, it's what you'd expect a child's dreams to consist of.

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Sarina Poppy's "Diamonds and Champagne" transported you back to the 20's. A personal favourite of mine, the beautiful flappers dancing in extravagant lace, silk, beaded, embellished dresses, Poppy's gorgeous gowns were exactly what you would picture them to have been like back in the day. With the 20's having a revival (with Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby to thank), Poppy's designs couldn't have been better timed.

Curve Couture's "Countryphile"  mixed the classic corset with it's famed origin; the Victorian era. An abundance of tweed and bustles had the corsets in their rightful era, yet the hints of gold sequins and mohicaned women contrasted the past Victorian with the modern day punk.

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Christina A Pistofidou's "Pagliacci" had elements of the opera. With "Pagliacci" a famous Italian opera, it drew influences and comparison's, namely from the phrase "Vesti la guibba"; "Put on the costume". The change of outfits between the models emphasized this change of costume and hinted at royalty with the heavily embroidered coats. With the implied lovers and shift in class, the collection had all the elements of an Italian play.

Navarro's "Alien Invasion" came with UFO dresses, neon knitwear, crazy dancing, loud singing, and being unable to know where to look next. Something you might expect if you were to come across an alien invasion, perhaps. The designs and all singing and dancing catwalk was reminiscent of both the future and the 80's rave.

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The second act started extremely dramatically with Uta Bekaia & Ideal Glass New York's "The Purple Jester". Nearly half the show's time was of lost loves, pig heads, Siamese twins, chess characters, Queen Elizabeth and motherhood, it played like a Shakespearean drama, all rolled into one. And the royalty and hint of Venetian influences couldn't be ignored throughout all of the designs, elevating the drama and the heightened story-telling from the Purpler Jester.

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I was lucky enough to interview Max Robinson and his collection "Looks Dangerous...You Go First!" drew laughs from the audience, with masked faces of hair and overtly dramatic posing of men in skirts and heels. However the bright sportswear prevented the designs from simply mocking model poses and reminds just how much effort went into creating the androgynous yet Jacobean inspired outfits.

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Louise O'Mahony showcased a new collection under her own name, as opposed to Oh My Honey. However, her collection "Nova" despite drawing elements of her old designs into it, created something both familiar and new. Keeping her signature 50's silhouettes, by combining them with Barbie pink wigs, mermaid sequined gowns and Space style patterns, she created something new and undeniably futuristic.

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The show ended on Katarzyna Konieczka's "La Beaute Terrifiante". Simply translating to "The Terrifying Beauty", it was clear to see why. The dominatrix style designs were laden with restrictive headpieces, metallic torture instruments and latex dresses. Mixing fetish with fear created terrifying designs that were in fact, beautifully crafted. Hints of strength were shown in gladiator style contraptions and regal headpieces, suggesting that the collection is not just the dominated, but the dominator.

This final show at St Bartholomew's Church really emphasised how amazingly wonderful and weird some of Brighton Fashion Week's finest designers are, no matter what their vision is.