Changes happen, but the spirit lives on. Since our move to the 1 Granary building, Central Saint Martins has been undergoing a lot of transformations. On 28th May, we saw a new wave of fashion hopefuls showcasing their graduation collections right at the entrance of CSM’s new base. These students have experienced both the historical Charing Cross building and the current contemporary landmark in King’s Cross. From these collections, we saw a lot of promises, fresh ideas and of course blood and sweat (and maybe some tears). While we are moving towards becoming the new art school of the 21st century, it’s clear that these students are still embracing the spirit and tradition of CSM: be rebellious, be different and be yourself!
The show is a typical CSM event— a celebration of creativity. 40 carefully selected fashion design students from 5 different pathways— womenswear, menswear, knitwear, fashion design with marketing and print— provide us with a wide range of exciting and for many, shocking concepts. The show was anything but boring; we saw new colours, new silhouettes, new techniques, new everything!
We all know that CSM is no shortage of big fashion stars, and so was the show. Creative director of Céline Phoebe Philo and designer Giles Deacon were the guests of honour, the former presented the prestigious L’Oréal Professional Award to womenswear designer Mao Usami at the end of the show. Apart from them, our beloved artist Grayson Perry was also spotted in the audience.
As for the highlights of the show, we would like to present to you 13 outstanding collections, we hope you will enjoy the beautiful garments made by these talented kids with a bright future ahead of them!
Inspired by kitsch and the willfully ugly, Nathaniel Lyles’s collection was a kaleidoscope prism of enameled copper wires in crazy colours. This was layering to the nth degree, with a lot of transparent fabric strips and pieces piled up to create optical illusions on the model’s form. The patterns might be more reminiscent of “cheap acrylics tapestries from the carboot” than traditional high fashion prints, but this collection was about putting things that are horrible together to create something unexpectedly fabulous.
Roni Ilan explored the concept of creating fashion sculptures with fabric and metal. She was inspired by Japanese sculptor Noguchi. She drew inspirations from the negative space within these sculptures, and the result was a series of stark, monochrome looks that worked far outside the box. The unique metal sculptures when combined with the simplicity of the grey oversized garments, generate a really contemporary vibe.
Alve Lagercrantz has one of the most dramatic ending looks among all the collections. His parachute dress was both eye-catching and technically interesting. Alve was really interested in the concept of micro-nations and that’s why he constructed these elegant yet puffy and spacious garments that represent freedom and creating your own space. He has used a total of around 150 meters of mostly lightweight fabric for these dresses.
Krystyna Kozhoma created tight feminine dresses and bodysuits that are both cyber-looking and extremely powerful. Inspired by Lisa Black’s taxidermy art, robots and S&M, her clothes looked like a second skin on the models. With the placement of these metal embroideries and cut-outs on body-con, these girls channeled a futuristic sex-appeal like a 2013 take on Blade Runner’s Replicants.
Beth Postle opened the show with a bang. Her bold 2D garments, inspired by shapes and silhouettes of 1920s Soviet costumes, with fragmented face painting added all over them. Beth’s use of this black outline was spurred by Niki De Saint Phalles’ sculptures, leading her to add the strong black edges framing the prints as well as the garments themselves. Heavy on the conceptual, yes, but these wearable artefacts turned the runway into a moving gallery.
Yuki Hagino’s designs are exquisite origami sculptures, with lots of interesting 3-dimentional details and shapes. Yuki was an Architecture graduate in Japan before coming to CSM to study fashion. We can see how she made use of her expertise in her designs to create these architectural and statuesque looks.
Xu Yuan Xin presented a collection that reflects the contemporary relationship between human and nature. Through these oversized silhouettes, inspired by industrial workwear and sportswear, she invites the audience to look closely into the folds and gathers to experience the miniature landscape hidden in the garments.
Charles Jeffrey gave us a dramatic menswear collection with a social statement. The background of the collection is based on the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014. Working on the unexpected binary line between clothes favoured by NEDs (‘non-educated delinquents’, a “Scottish version of Chavs” in Jeffrey’s words) and more traditional Highlander dress led to something approaching contemporary streetwear a la Shaun Samson and others. The collection’s highlight? That big red fur coat, a streetwear head-turner that everyone will remember.
The same old subcultures get trotted out all the time in fashion, but Nicholas Daley offered something a little different this time. With his main inspiration being the 1970s “punk dread” DJ Don Letts, Daley mixed old school punk and reggae together via loose tailoring and silhouettes. And he pulled it off: Don Letts himself modelled one of the looks on the runway. If that isn’t a mark of approval then we don’t know what is.
Cassandra Verity Green’s otherworldly under-water creatures looked like pastel-coloured seaweed and coral reef-embroidery had been organically growing on top of them. Completed perfectly by Cassandra’s pet goldfish, who were happily swimming in fish bowls that had been turned into handbags and backpacks.
Shinya Kozuka’s collection showed a quieter, more contemplative side of menswear. There was something cinematic in this presentation: the clothes, intended to maintain the functions and utility of workwear, seemed to mimic nostalgic visions of men at work from years gone by. But Shinya made these traditional fabrics look modern by playing with texture and proportion to create a more relevant version of workwear for today’s man.
Samuel Yang’s collection was a white-out. But this wasn’t something pared-down and minimal: this was Yang’s interpretation of “the invisible and formless things, the aura that exists among people”. These sculptural garments look clean and effortless, but yet are secretly structured. Yang has found himself a new approach to manipulating fabrics.
Xue Li’s collection was full of energy and hybrid colours. He transformed things he saw in Miao minority village in South-west China into avant-garde designs. The mixing of the super colourful fabrics and print, along with the horn-like headpieces, the collection is an expressive representation of the ethnic inspirations.