Presented with the top prize of £20,000 and the title GFW Designer of the Year, by judges Claudia Schiffer, Richard Bradbury of sponsors River Island, Julien Macdonald and ELLE's Editor in Chief Lorraine Candy, Jessica told us, "I'm in shock" as she was awarded not only the Gold Award, but also the Zandra Rhodes Catwalk Textiles Award.
Her menswear collection of Teddy Boy inspired silhouettes, printed with graphic, almost tropical prints captured the imagination of every judge on this year's panel.
Lorraine Candy told us last night, 'we were looking for someone who had a good collection. It didn't have to be perfectly made but it had to look like it worked together with a central theme, and also have that extra special something that said, this person will go far.'
Many were suprised that a menswear designer scooped the top award but Julien Macdonald told us, 'the menswear was actually stronger this year. If I had a menswear line I'd snap some of these students up.'
Other winners of last night's top awards included Nabil El Nayal, from Manchester School of Art who scooped the Womenswear designer of the Year with his stunning Marchesa-esque designs. Domingo Rodriguez of Liverpool John Moores University won the Menswear Award and Mulberry presented their Accessories Award to Sarah Kennedy, because her designs 'made them smile'.
Last night River Island also announced that they will continue to sponsor Graduate Fashion Week next year - at it's new home - London's Earls Court II.
By Laurelle Gilbert
Posted: 12 June 2008More