The Central Saint Martins graduates are a prestigious class of new talent. Never oblivious or unaware, these emerging designers reflected on the precarious political state that our world currently finds itself in and addressed them in their own thoughtful Fall/Winter 2017 collections. Fabio Piras, director of the school’s MA Fashion course, felt that rather than taking this in a political direction, the sixteen designers instead approached the future as an unanswered question, a sort of unnerving dystopia that might turn all too real.
Though there was quite a handful of designers and an even larger number of outfits, there were a few that stood out and deserve mention. The work of Laura Lowena and Emma Chopova immediately vied for attention. Inspired by a mish-mash of Bulgarian folkart and the particular sport of rock-climbing, the pair launched a chaotic medley of color and pattern on the runway. Using synthetic materials like nylon as well as carabiners and rope harnesses, they successfully synthesized a strong aesthetic that felt independent from both of the collection’s unusual inspirations.
In stark contrast to this was the austerity of Amelie Beluze. While LFW — and the CSM graduate show in particular — often invites experimental fashion, Beluze’s designs already appeared refined and ready-to-wear. Quiet but fresh, the collection boasted strong tailoring in the women’s department as well as a sense of sensitivity and ease of design. Similarly, Robert Wallace was another designer that avoided the outrageous and flamboyant. Instead, his career took a U-turn from a BA in womenswear to his current graduate emphasis on menswear. Enamored with product design from the early 20th century, his collection felt quite sculptural in silhouette. Structural paneling played well with knit-sleeves that burst from the chest as well as pleated trousers.
Forging their way into the industry, these designers will probably take residency at larger fashion houses or (ideally) initiate their own brands. Creative careers are always difficult to break into, but these graduates are definitely talented and qualified. Though we never know what the future will bring, we wish them the best as they begin the next chapter in both their life and work.