I covered the Central Saint Martins BA Honours Fashion Show 2011 for 1883 Magazine, read the article below or on 1883′s blog.
Juhee Han 2011
The atmosphere at the 2011 Central Saint Martins BA Honours Show was at once nostalgic and eager, a fond look at the past and a bright perspective on the future of British fashion. The show opened with a newsreel-style minute and half long video montage showing stills from Saint Martin’s 1939 days and onward. As Bob Dylan’s “Changes” blasted through York Hall, stills from more recent catwalk shows and intimate workshop photos flashed across the screen like a yearbook in motion. The show already felt like a true commencement ceremony; a buzzing crowd, ready to watch young talent prove their worthiness to take the industry reigns. The audience, jam-packed with VIPs like Sarah Burton, fellow CSM students and London’s fashion -istas and istos, though not exempt from fashion clichés evident in the sea of iPhones, Marlboro lights and Moschino lettered belts, were a far cry from the steely faces of a Paris runway show’s front row. Each six to eight piece collection that came down the runway was met with enthusiastic applause and “whoop whoops!” of praise from the supportive crowd.
Lowell Delaney 2011
The collections themselves were as varied as the songs each designer picked for the catwalk; models styled like circus freaks, nuns and ghostly rabbits stomped down the runway to everything from techno to didgeridoo, from The Beatles to flamenco music. Each designer’s distinct aesthetic was highlighted by the speed at which each collection followed the next, but there were common themes among them. Gold and hardware were all over the catwalk, from the detailing on the Josh Bullen wag-inspired top Daisy Lowe modeled with matching gold pumps, to the armour chest piece in Kopi Akasaka’s menswear collection. Fringe and pleat detailing were equally prevalent motifs, in the form of accordion open-back crop tops by Holly Skousbo, technicolour fringed knits by Katie Jones and Ziv Gill Kazenstein’s menswear collection featuring pleated and fringed trousers. Monochrome, too, was a popular design element. Ayako Ohori’s models stood together at the end of the catwalk like a very chic box of futuristic crayons, Kim Traeger sent rabbit-eared models in head-to-toe white bandaging and knits and Toma Stenko styled deep blue textured dresses with blue full body stockings.
Kim Traeger 2011
The star students were Flaminia Saccucci, this year’s winner of the L’Oreal Professional Design Award and Nicholas Aburn, the runner-up. Saccucci’s winning womenswear collection was made up of feminine floral dresses contrasted with tyre-print latex leggings, giving prim and proper a harder, sexier edge in an unexpected way.
Flaminia Saccucci 2011
Of course, in any graduating class there are also the class clowns; second runner-up Momo Wong’s models came out in a whimsical parade of polka dots, pom poms and multicolour yarn fringe in a flurry of bubbles and helium balloons that held up one model’s plaits. Crimson Rose O’Shea’s collection was an explosion of texture and colour; models wore bright neon wigs, giant cellophane neck ruffs and tutu skirts like a troupe of demented clowns wearing the contents of a Party Warehouse.
Crimson Rose O’Shea 2011
Legendary fashion journalist Hilary Alexander praised the “creativity bursting off the catwalk” but also mentioned the “political relevance” of the student collections. One example is womenswear designer Andraya Farrag’s delicate yet haunting collection, which consisted of veils, chain mail trim and cage-like headpieces, reflecting the oppression of women and her personal internal religious struggle. “My mum’s from England and I was brought up here, and my dad’s from Egypt. She is Christian and he’s Muslim…so there has always been this struggle between them”. A struggle that is clear in the contrast of pure white veils, sheer lace dresses and hard metal masks. “This is maybe the only time in your career you get to do anything you want without it necessarily being wearable…people wanted to be more creative with this show”.
Hilary Alexander closed the show noting that “This truly does signify the end of an era for Central Saint Martins”, as this was the last show before CSM’s move to King’s Cross. But every end is a new beginning, and this year’s honour students provided the perfect occasion to celebrate the transition.
WRITTEN BY EMMA FREED
PHOTOS BY CLAUDIA MORONI