Central Saint Martins MA show at London Fashion Week
Central Saint Martins' MA show is one of the hottest tickets at London Fashion Week. This is the place to spot the next generation of big names in the fashion industry. CSM's alumni reads like a who's who of fashion, with names like Christopher Kane, the late Alexander McQueen and Phoebe Philo making up just a small fraction of the talent to come through their doors.
As Louise Wilson celebrated 20 years of directing the MA course, some of her former students showed up to support this year's graduates; designers like Roksanda Illincic and Gareth Pugh were in attendance, as well as the slightly unexpected arrival of Iain Duncan Smith!
Experimental doesn't even begin to cut it for CSM. This is a chance for graduates to express their creativity before adhering to the constraints of the commercial fashion world, so understandably they go all out with eye-catching, out there collections. This year didn't disappoint with what people dubbed 'Balenciaga burkas', boxy protrusions on ladylike dresses and incredible fringed shoes.
Menswear textiles designer Craig Green, one of the L'Oreal Professionel Creative Award winners from the night, produced a slightly sinister collection. Conceptual luggage weighed down models who had an air of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest about them, with pillbox hats and sports bandages covering their mouths.
Mei-Lim Cooper's conceptual knitwear married chunky fisherman ribs with a sportwear aesthetic. Errant arm and neckholes escaped from her pieces, finished off in flashes of grown-up jades, cobalts and lilacs.
Jessie Hands pieced together marble print dresses and boxy tunics in ice cream shades of mint, chocolate and lemon. Flashed of embossed pvc provided textural interest in a collection that was subtle but clean and stylish.
Charlotte Heylars printed elaborate histocial costumes onto clinical-style tunics and cigarette pants. The printer marks and CMYK keys gave the feel that her dresses were draped directly from an A0 sheet down in some copy room.
Kenji Kawasumi took foam with a pulped paper texture and made it into a thing of beauty with delicate pastel felted wool overlays on minimal menswear seperates. The detritus/construction theme continued with coats finished in lagging, wadding or foam, all given the sugared almond treatment.
Twitter went wild over Estefania Cortes Harker's glittery scultped dresses, brief minis and longline maxi dresses had geometric shapes dangling from the neckline, redolent of disco version of fellow CSM graduate Mary Katrantzou.
Helen Lawrence's couture patchwork was one of my personal highlights, felts, wool and clear plastic jodphurs don't sound like a good mix but it really worked. The oversized faux-stitching and doll-like construction belying an undercurrent of grownup sexiness and the clear shoes were definitely covetable.
Luke Brooks, the night's other recipient of the L'Oreal award, produced an anarchic and rich collection (above) that looked like it had all been nicked from the studios of one of the fine arts courses. Like a student wearing their work paint-spattered clothes, t-shirts and dress were exploded with weaving, bundled newspaper, flotsam and jetsam and even a pair of boxers found their way into Brooks' collection. Every kind of mixed media experimentation was squeezed together for a set of pieces that confirmed London as the fashion world's hotbed of creativity.