Award-winning Contour Fashion graduate opens exhibition at DMU

Contour Fashion graduate Elissa Grainger has opened a special exhibition showcasing her award-winning designs.

Lingerie Insight reported last month that the exhibition would be displayed at De Montfort University to mark the 70th anniversary of the internationally acclaimed Contour Fashion course.

Seen in ‘the shopfront’ space at the base of the Arts Tower in the Vijay Patel building (below) – the cutting-edge new home to the university’s art and design courses – Grainger’s display is made up of six striking pieces.

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These include a latex lace wedding dress from the collection that earned her acclaim in the St Andrews Charity Fashion Show and a latex rope crinoline, which featured during the launch of rock legend Brian May’s latest book.

DMU exhibition

Grainger said: “I feel so privileged to be part of the celebrations. It’s so nice to be able to give something back to a course which has given me so much.

“It’s also a really cool way of being a part of the amazing Vijay Patel building, which didn’t open until after I graduated from DMU.”

Since graduating in 2015, Grainger has launched her Elissa Poppy brand in response to the high demand for her trademark latex lace designs, which combine latex with exquisite guipure laces. She was supported by The Crucible Project, DMU’s initiative helping graduates to get their business ideas off the ground.

Last year Grainger beat more than 600 other brands to win a prestigious ASOS competition, earning her a £50,000 prize and mentoring from industry professionals and was named Rising Star of the Year in the 2016 UK Lingerie Awards in January.

“To have the support of ASOS and so many industry experts is incredible. It’s really given me the confidence to push forward and achieve my goals,” she said.

“At the moment we’re working on expanding my brand commercially and I’m learning so much about the sourcing and manufacturing side of the business.

“We’re working with colleagues in China on a commercial collection and I’m also teaming up with the Fashion Capital factory in London to train apprentices in my trademark Lacetex technique to produce couture pieces for boutiques. It’s all very exciting.”

Elissa 3

The designer’s upcoming collections for ASOS include one in time for Christmas, and two in 2018 to mark both Valentine’s Day and spring/summer.

Bespoke Elissa Poppy pieces are also stocked by luxury labels across the world – Beautifully Undressed in the UK, Brigade Mondaine in France, and Anya Lust in the US – and her designs have featured in high-profile magazines such as Vogue and Off the Rails.

Gillian Proctor, Programme Leader for Contour Fashion, said: “Elissa developed her trademark process during her final collection at DMU, supported by ‘Stretchline’ UK. Her distinctive and directional pieces have set her apart and we are so proud of her achievements and competition successes.

“Having successfully established her label internationally, Elissa continues to go from strength to strength. That’s the very best thing we can wish for our graduates and Elissa is a prime example.”

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