A dress hand-crafted University of East London (UEL) fashion student Antonia Nae has won a top award at Graduate Fashion Week 2016.

Her contrasting design featuring silk chiffon ruffles, delicate lace appliqué and tough leather sleeves was chosen for the Lipsy Red Carpet Award. She created it to echo the texture and beauty of the nature around the Danube Delta in her native Romania.

The Custom House resident said: “I am really excited and truly honoured to have won this award. It’s hard to put the feeling into words.

“It means a lot for me that people got to see my work and, more importantly, enjoyed it.”

Her dress met the judges’ criteria of “design, creativity, craftsmanship, commercial viability and red-carpet impact”.

Antonia design on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week 2016

“My dress is sexy even though it’s not as revealing as one would expect a red carpet dress to be,” Antonia said.

“For me, sexy is confidence and and I believe this dress could make any women feel like she owns the show.”

The 23-year-old fashion design graduate has interned at Allison Rodger and Jenny Packham, where she worked on couture dresses for celebrities such as Kate Middleton and Oprah Winfrey. She dreams of starting her own business.

She received her trophy at Graduate Fashion Week’s gala award show on Wednesday, June 8, the culmination of the four-day event at Truman Brewery which involved more than 40 universities and 1,000 student designers.

UEL sent 16 collections down the runway, ranging from Tinotenda Chafesuka’s vibrant, rainbow-accented sportswear to Samuel Kaiser’s avant-garde garments inspired by African hairstyles.

The part-time Duck boat driver who joined UEL as a mature student, created many of his pieces using high-density boat foam discarded by his employer. His messages was that designers should use recycled and reclaimed materials.

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