IFM Masters Students Open Paris Fashion Week
RUNWAY READY: It was the first time opening Paris Fashion Week for the MA students on the fashion design and knitwear design courses at the Institut Français de Mode. The emotion showed as 25 young creatives accompanied their models down the catwalk for the finale — some looking nervous, others visibly moved.
The latter sentiment was shared by program director Leyla Neri, who wiped away tears backstage afterward. “The ones that move me the most are the ones that were almost failing a few months ago and made it. It’s a question of resilience and motivation and hard work,” she told WWD. “I’m very proud of them. Some of them had anxiety issues, others had mental health issues, they’re far from their families, some of them couldn’t see their families since COVID-19,” she explained.
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Despite the nerves, the talent on the runway was tangible among the students on the grueling two-year course, showing their upcoming graduation collections to the Paris fashion macrocosm inside IFM headquarters.
There are 118 students in the program, hailing from 23 countries.
The collections showing were as diverse as they come, blurring boundaries between genres and techniques.
“Each of them has their own universe and their own personality,” said Neri.
“We never push them stylistically. Sometimes you can tell when you see a collection which school it is. We try not to do that, diversity is a priority, all of them are in their own universe.”
Highlights included French-Chilean designer Shanon Poupard’s wide, whimsical knit dresses that opened the show and intricate jacquard knits with the look of destroyed denim pieces displayed by Ju Bao, from China. South Korean Gookhyun Lee’s “Romantic Army” of moody wide-shouldered designs was adorned with 3D fabric moon-shaped details, while compatriot Chaewon Song’s three-dimensional knits had something of vintage Missoni about them, updated with masses of three-dimensional loops.
The young designers have just a month left to complete their graduation collections, which they then present to a jury of professionals. They also have to write a research thesis, before heading into a six-month internship, often with one of the major fashion houses. Around 95 percent of students on the program find employment within six months of graduation, according to IFM.
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