‘Memories from 2018: A Wrap up of Master of Fashion (Design) Graduate Show at MPavilion’

By Laura Gardner, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles

RMIT event photos by Lucas Dawson Photography (77)

Models wearing designs by Master of Fashion (Design) graduates Amber Reese, Vanessa Duque, Jessie Kiely, and Ling Li, at MPavilion 2017. Photographed by Lucas Dawson.


16 November 2017, MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens

Happy 2018 from the Houndstooth Wrap! Before we share some new adventures for F&T, including our new facilities on the city campus (coming up in our next issue), we have some memories from 2017…

Held at MPavilion in Queen Victoria Gardens this November, 2017 Master of Fashion (Design) graduate show celebrated the cohort’s mastery of fashion practice. The yearly event showcased the work of Amber Reese, Vanessa Duque, Jessie Kiely and Ling Li. Under the direction of Masters Program Manager Ricarda Bigolin, the students’ work reflected aesthetics that challenge established knowledge and languages of dress and fashion.

The presentation was set under the aluminium-clad awning of MPavilion’s summer structure designed by Netherlands–based architects Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA. Configured as a circular amphitheatre stage, the structure provided a fresh setting for the presentation.


As has become the tradition, models arrived on the tram after travelling the length of Swanston Street from RMIT’s Building 8. Ling Li opened the show with her two models, whose outfits (within her collection titled ‘LOOK 1/ 1 LOOK’) were added as layers periodically between collections, culminating in a closing final look. This offered a kind of intermission between the three other collections of the show.

Then, Amber Reese’s collection ‘Trim, Taut and Terrific’, brought contemporary, colourful fabrications to formal and historical forms of tailoring. Subverting nostalgia with unexpected layering and styling, she brought signifiers of lingerie, evening wear, and leisurewear (such as the boater hats) skillfully into an unexpected, but feminine, collection.

Vanessa Duque’s collection explored new, multiple ways to relate and engage with archetypal denim garments in her collection, ‘Collective perceptions, social interaction, and everyday situations’. In a delicate retelling of denim artefacts, Duque explored material and finishing techniques that reconfigured aspects of denim clothing approaching ‘gestures of the body and how they function as a metaphor for creating alternative dialogues and a language of signs in everyday context.’

Before Ling Li’s closing, final outfit of layers, Jessie Kiely’s collection, born from a single vintage dress pattern, explored uniformity and the fashion image in womenswear. Blending garment conventions, uniform fabrics, colours and garment forms were carefully, awkwardly, incorporated with sparkly evening wear references. Jessie describes her collection as ‘a study of the activation of a design choice, as well as the triumphs and turbulence of being a woman today.’

With the support of Ricarda and the other Master’s teaching staff, the four students were heavily involved in developing the concept and choreography of the MPavilion show. Amber reflected that: ‘Producing the show at MPavilion proposed exciting and challenging decisions, however it allowed the graduating cohort a unique landscape to present a fashion runway. As a small group, we were able to create and emphasise our individual stories in the show itself. The work was united by an analysis of specific and integral clothing archetypes to each collection, as well as an interpretation of contemporary women.’

Please forward any ideas for future stories, staff/alumni profiles, or news to laura.gardner@rmit.edu.au.