They say that creativity prospers in hard times, and if this year's Central Saint Martin's MA show was anything to go by, then that appears to be the case.
This was the last to come out of the old building, before the fashion college moves into new premises in London's King's Cross. Under the watchful and at times ferocious eye of visionary course director, Louise Wilson, the class of 2011 excelled itself.
The tone was set by an opening courtesy of Jenny Postle, whose patch-worked knitwear embellished with rainbow-coloured quills covered the body from the roots of hair to the tips of toes and spoke of an appreciation for hand-craftsmanship and individuality over and above disappearing into a fashion crowd. Rejina Pyo's offering – softly voluminous shapes that floated about the body – was strangely beautiful. The primitive sculpture attached to clothing and carried by models as they walked only added to the proudly idiosyncratic mood.
More wizardry was on display in Maarten Van Der Horst's Hawaiian-print collection which exploded into pastel coloured pleats and ruffles. Jamie Cockerill's collection gave new meaning to boot-cut trousers. In a thoroughly inspired move, hessian edging with black piping encased shoes entirely.
Menswear deserves a mention also. Sasu Kauppi's big clothes in strong colours to match won the Dunhill Award. Kathleen Kye's oversized designs were finished with anatomical detail – a puffa jacket was a giant stuffed hand, swollen fingers formed straps on sandals. Shaun Samson's Aaron knits that morphed into plaid were also noteworthy – they would look equally great on girls.
Finally, Viktor Smedinge, co-winner of the L'Oréal Professional Creative Award and recipient of the Armani Bursary, came up with tailoring scrolled, like parchment, at the hips. Phoebe English, L'Oréal's second winner and also awarded the Ungaro Bursary and Chloé prize, proved there's a lot a bright young fashion designer can do with Latex. The finely wrought top halves of garments resembled nothing more than the delicate feathers of menacing black birds.