August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

(By Modesta Dziautaite in Fashion 156/ August 2010)

Central Saint Martins BA Show

   Circle shaped garments by Liz Black

 Photo by Palida Boonyarungsrit

Graduate Fashion Week is nearly upon us, and last night’s early arrival of the CSM BA show was undisputedly one of the raw roots of all creativity in the industry, that brought back established alumni such as Gareth Pugh for its uncompromising inspiration. The 40 students showed a self-assuring indication of next few seasons’ trends – wood prosthetics, the return of metallics and African references. Of course, at Central Saint Martins it is never how it appears – these references are maximised, extorted and refined to give new meaning and let our interpretations run wild.

Anne Karine Thorbjoernsen’s opening collection had an interesting way of conveying its 3D nature – building upwards from oriental wooded inserts in the back of lapelled dresses, to a transformative climax of angular arms that catapulted the silhouette to lateral new heights. Knitwear particularly pushed boundaries using topiary-style dresses to form faces in multi-dimensional movements of colour, seen in Helen Price’s, Buki Agbabiaka and Onez Lau’s collections. I caught a glimpse of the former’s complex pieces backstage still on mannequins, which already looked fit to be in a V&A exhibition next to a knitwear expert like Sonia Rykiel.

Menswear was subdued with an outback military theme in Philip Patterson’s collection and a surprising coalition of Polo and Middle Eastern influences in Nicholas Smith’s romantic tailoring. However, Craig Green surpassed all with his shock factor – a toy-kingdom-esque collection that had the models as ‘band boys’ in drum hats, tribal fringing and tubular weaving, making it one of the overall stand outs of the night. Whilst my personal womenswear highlight was Liz Black’s space-age concept that was executed in the form of planets with diversifying prints reflecting coldness (moon) and heat (sun). The evolving shape turned into a cape-like hat providing the most note-worthy futurism I have seen in a while.

                                                Photo by Palida Boonyarungsrit

Romantic juxtaposition (see our current issue) was a prominent running theme of the night with Isabel Czenin Fishlock child-like proportioned canvas embellished with tissue butterflies and Didier Wong Kung Fong’s vision of the modern rebel with skater, leisure and underwear as outerwear elements combined with whimsical veils covering wet hair, for a contradictory effect. The L’Oreal Professional Award winner of the night was deserving Yi Fang Wan for her Grecian collection of fragile draping in artesian tones, religious references and peasantry frayed edges (an emerging trend for S/S11).

Finally, Sorcha O’raghallaigh triumphed the show’s closing with a toy-kingdom circus-theme collection of maximalist knitwear on stilt walkers. The closing bridal net dress embellished with hundreds of crucifixes was the most impressive interpretation of recent religious references in any collection and received an astounding cheer from the audience. The exhilaration and shock of it all couldn’t be called a show – more of a theatrical demonstration of untainted opportunist talent – I couldn’t put it better than Colin McDowell who ended the show thanking Central Saint Martin’s for its ‘extremism in these mundane times’.

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