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Contour Fashion students impress head of global lingerie brand

The head of one of the world’s great lingerie brands has visited De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to judge a competition she set for Contour Fashion students based around a “glamourzonian” look.

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Elise Recour, general manager of Gossard Berlei, first coined the phrase “glamourzonian” last year at the annual DMU Contour Fashion catwalk show, which was held in the opulent surroundings of Covent Garden’s Freemasons’ Hall.

The phrase was used to sum up the students’ various collections which Ms Recour said had brought “the strength of women and the empowered woman back on the catwalk” as it was a “mixture of the fragile, the feminine and the strong”.

So this year Gossard asked third year students on the world-renowned course, which specialises in designing lingerie, nightwear, corsetry, swimwear and sports gear, to come up with lingerie designs which fitted this brief while also giving a respectful nod to Gossard’s aesthetic.

Ms Recour picked four finalists from the collections modelled for her team, and in the end could not choose an overall winner due to the high standard. Two students, Indiana Maslin and Becky Harkins, were awarded the Gossard Glamourzonian Prize, while Eliza McCann and Betsan Evans, won the Gossard Commercial Prize.

Ms Recour, whose Gossard brand is a partner with the DMU course, said: “I think the work was outstanding – really creative. Overall what was really interesting was way the students put their personality into their finished pieces which meant all of the work explored feminine aspects in very different ways and made picking a winner difficult.

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“The effort put into each piece was remarkable as they were pushing the boundaries technically.

“I think DMU has an amazing facility here and produces tomorrow’s talent. It is a real privilege for a brand like us to have a sneak peek at what the next generation is producing.

“The winners will all be featured on the Gossard website so that the new talent can stand out and help students take the next step in the industry. We want to be a part of the next generation of talent and support them in the best way we can, so it is a win-win for us and DMU to have a competition like this.”

Indiana, from Buckinghamshire, Becky, from Lutterworth, Eliza, from Maidenhead, and Betsan, from Cardiff, were all thrilled, and surprised, to have been named as winners.

Indiana, who produced a gold collection inspired by a trip to the Palace of Versailles, said: “I put so many hours into the work. It was a challenge, but well worth it.”

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Becky, whose midnight blue and pale blue three piece was inspired by the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, added: “I am really excited. I did not expect to be picked. It is great to have someone from the industry recognise your work.”

Eliza’s nude and black four piece set of bra, knicker, suspender and skirt, was based on her passion for tattoos. She said: “I am chuffed to bits. I did the embroidery myself. It took ages but really paid off.”

Betsan, whose deep pink three-piece was inspired by Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre-Couer Basilica, said: “It has been really exciting and it’s given me a taste of what it is like to work in the industry. It’s lovely we all shared the title.”

Gillian Proctor, head of DMU’s Contour Fashion course, guided the students through the competition. She said: “We have a wonderful partnership with Gossard and they are great supporters of the course in every way. They have had a considerable number of graduates from DMU work for them over the years.”

DMU’s Contour Fashion course was established in 1947 by Fred Berlei, founder of Gossard Berlei, to support the local corset industry. It is the oldest and most successful degree-level course in intimate apparel and is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the best in the world.

Posted on Monday 15th February 2016

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