London Latest: Central Saint Martin’s

With an international reputation for crafting design talents like Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Richard Nicoll and Mary Katrantzou, the Central Saint Martin’s M.A. class of 2012 had a lot to live up to...


With precociously high standards of production and finish this cohort of 20 designers like fluid shapes, statement shoulders, skirts over trousers and lots and lots of layering. They sculpt 3-D shapes in prim tweed, send models down the runway in sci-fi burka’s and frame legs in perspex shorts.
Steering clear of the safety of worn-out references the next generation of fashion talent is edging towards something a little more anarchic, something a little more defiant.
It was all about binary opposites and power dressing, but not as we know it. Juxtaposing soft with hard, matte with shine at Petra Metzger with white silk scarves draped over the shoulders of patent black jackets, and there was a definitive shift away from the neat and tidy at Helen Lawrence with scratchy doodles etched over flaps of felt and safety pins holding unfinished seams together.
Texture took a starring role in most of the collections, with beautiful fine knits and stiff lace combining in sorbet shades at Kenji Kawasumi and begging-to-be-stroked velvets clashing with sculpted pleats and chainmail rings at Yong Kyun Shin.
Simple pieces made major statements at the likes of Charlotte Helyar and Yifang Wan, taking the idea of working from a (perfectly cut) blank canvas with CMYK prints and using the addition of oversized belts to cinch in draped jackets and loose tees respectively.
Joint winner of the L'Oreal award - judged by ELLE's very own Rebecca Lowthorpe - Luke Brooks sent out a variety of innovative new crochets, string tees and knitted tassel vests, along with Navajo shawls worn over Pollock print jersey and paper mache-style boxy tops that looked like they belonged in the Tate Modern.
Craig Green shared the trophy for his playful but pragmatic approach to design thanks to his designer bus-boys in clean-cut cottons hauling 'backbreaking' printed luggage and dark ninja-like figures in cropped trousers carrying planks of MDF construction.
Why do all and sundry turn up to see what is afterall a student show? Because they know they're not just in for a sighting of new talent but a collective with a strong fashion direction of its own. As well as finding out the new names to know, we definitely saw a few of tomorrow's stars today.
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