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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Central St Martins BA Show

York Hall, Bethnal Green

Written by Jonno Ovans

Last night was the BA fashion show from the students of Central St Martins in a blisteringly hot Bethnal Green York Hall, hospital search where forty students had their work sent down the catwalk to an audience expecting nothing except the best and, web of course, the wackiest. With such a massive amount of creativity flying about it saw an awful lot of boxes being ticked, including (unfortunately) the prerequisite models who couldn’t make it down the runway without falling over the sheer volume of fabric they were swathed in.

It’s a strange and sometimes disconcerting sensation being hurtled straight into the centre of somebody imagination for only about a minute and a half, and some informed you of their vision more immediately and successfully than others. Particularly memorable was Caroline Jarvis’s menswear, a selection of loose knits, oversized jerseys, with a gorgeous fair isle cardigan and wooden birdbox accessories (a rucksack and a bumbag, as you ask).

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I found it a really well put together collection and that’s effortlessly wearable but also enduring, with relaxed, rural overtones that provided a welcome dose of rustic respite amidst a sea of harsh, futuristic designs, with the models lobbing a stone back and forth between them a likeable touch.

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I especially like the roughly cut schoolboy shorts on the final look, and the velvet pantaloons combined with some knitted socks. At the opposite end of the spectrum was John Booth, whose pieces had the air of children let loose with a whole lot of psychedelic crayons and felt tips, with raincoats covered in cartoon patches, giant beads and more colour than I’ve ever seen anywhere, ever, in the world.

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Apart from in Peter Bailey’s collection of course, which saw giant plasticated jewellery and rockabilly straw hats against clashing check and polka dot prints. Pessimism certainly had no place here.

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Knitwear was a popular choice and cropped up in unlikely places, including some seriously thick knitted trousers (by Sorada Thaiwaranon) that had the roasting hot audience looking on aghast. In fact the revelation of the evening seemed to be influence of craft on many of the collections, showing how the sustainable act of making perhaps has become more current than ever. Included in this was runner up Luke Brooks whose models were in some cases almost entirely enclosed in basket-weave cocoons, and elsewhere there were enormous thatch pockets, woven string blouses, wire coats and basket shoulder-pads. The patchwork tulip dress by Tamaki Fujie was another favourite, accessorised with a neckscarf made of flowers and a feather headdress.

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The most positive responses seemed to be generated by the pastoral – maybe expressing some sort of growing ambivalence towards urban life, now that things are perhaps a bit more austere than we would like.

The winning collection was Dutch fashion print student Marie Hill, who sent out a series of fluorescent-techno bodycon cocktail dresses, with the body divided by contour lines of delicate folds with spider webs taut at the back.

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The construction seemed to reveal a tension of ideas, and we found out afterwards from Marie that she was keen to do something technically impressive with the materials that had been donated by 3M. The fabrication certainly lent her designs a toughness, which I think successfully created a curious dialogue with the sophisticated evening silhouettes on show.

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She actually changed her whole collection two weeks before the show because she wanted it to be more feminine so I wonder how the robust materials translated prior to the revamp. The reflective pieces were actually safety vests cut into thin strips, and like Olga Shishinka who appeared to use old tent material, it was an opportune foray into the reuse of materials.

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Obviously a lot of trends were pandered to here – there were more jumpsuits than you could shake a stick for instance. The only rule here as an audience member is never to raise an eyebrow: you never know what you might be wearing next year.

Photos: Catwalking.com

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2 Responses to “Central St Martins BA Show”

  1. Cornelia says:

    I love your writing! You have a great way with words!
    Cornelia

  2. stephanie says:

    “CSM Fashion BA once again put on a show that displayed the vast range of talent from over 40 forward thinking students, many of whom seem to be kicking off recession blues with power dressing responses., very impressed with the quality of design and especially Maria Hills work.”

    http://www.jotta.com/magazine/video/171/central-saint-martins-ba-fashion-show-2009

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