"If I could work for anyone it would be Yves Saint Laurent ... an older company with heritage, ideally with a couture house and ready to wear line," says 24-year-old Ilincic, who compares Saint Martins to her old college in war-torn Belgrade: "It's completely falling apart." Her startling collection, inspired by "illustrations that come to life", explores the relationship between symmetry and movement. (Ilincic, like former Saint Martins graduate Hussein Chalayan, is a firm believer in thought-provoking fashion.) Not one of her pieces is symmetrical or identical. Take the pale peach linen dress (pictured) - one sleeve billows out as if it has been puffed up with helium, while the other is pleated flat. Ilincic's softly sculpted shapes, organic materials and delicate sense of colour give her creations a fresh spin in the over populated niche of intellectual fashion.
"I'm a bit manic," gasps Senthi. "Christian Lacroix and Ungaro have sent me these incredible dresses worth pounds 2,000." It turns out that the two designers had commissioned Senthi to print the exquisite dresses - Lacroix wanted bold orange circles, Ungaro required all-over opulence - for their couture shows. Not a bad start for Senthi, 26, who graduated in print design. But then a meteoric rise was always on the cards after he sold his MA collection to Chanel, no less. The prints, "bright post modern and very glam", were based on Seventies and Eighties pop culture - Blondie, Roxy Music, Studio 54 and Halston. "My ideal job would be to work as head of print in a couture house," he says.
The fact that Cook is now in Paris designing fabrics for arch modernist Martine Sitbon, just goes to show what a knockout her MA collection was. How about a felt jacket containing its own treasure trove of jewels, diamante and antiquated slithers of fabric, all embedded into its lining? Or a rather grand-looking smocked top, cut away at the back, made of silk which has been purposefully faded by the sun? A finalist for the prestigious Jerwood Fashion Prize, she is in no hurry to make her name on the fashion show circuit. "Ideally I'd like to set up my own label, but not until I've gained more experience in the industry," says the sensible 23 year old who currently sells her one-off's, some of which can take up to two weeks to make. They are available to order from London's cult boutique Kokon Tozai.
Watson saw fashion as her future from an early age, studying at her local art college in Lincoln when she was 16. Her glittering career as a print designer was side-tracked, however, when she became a rather unlikely security guard. "I've worked in just about every building in London," she laughs. After completing a fashion BA at the University of East London, the 30 year old was offered a place on the MA course at Saint Martins. Her graduation collection was an extraordinary mix of prints - bright polka dots on cargo net, graphic grids on jersey, and patterns inspired by childhood birthday cards - later snapped up by Donna Karan. The clothes were equally inventive, cut with "an Eighties edge and a touch of Fifties refinement". Watson's prints are now sold all over the world. "I haven't had any money for so many years, it doesn't bother me making millions now," she says. nReuse content