If London Fashion Week's claim to be the incubator of international talent looked more convincing than ever this season, there is one institution that may take some of the credit.
Central Saint Martins, which presented its MA students' final-year collections yesterday, is the alma mater to almost every hot young designer of the past week, including Giles Deacon, Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilincic and Peter Jensen. The college also trained John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, as well as many studio designers for big brands in Paris and Milan.
And the 18 graduate collections selected for the catwalk yesterday made lively viewing for the crowd of talent scouts and editors who closely follow the output from this college and its MA course director, Louise Wilson. Tatiana Katinova was selected as the overall winner, yet her strict black tailoring went against the trend for Arts and Crafts-style ornamentation.
In fact, the class of 2007 often seemed stronger on details than new silhouettes.
Scott Ramsay Kyle's clever lurex fringing resembled the back of a needlepoint panel and Tessa Birch stitched tiny discs of yellow or black plastic to create a bright mosaic effect. Taking his inspiration from Victorian mourning jewellery, Krzysztof Strozyna's outsized chain necklaces and washer-shaped bangles were also excellent; Viktor & Rolf take note.
Given the commercial pressures faced by young designers, there were few collections that recalled the wacky scenes of art-college legend. The strongest menswear student, Maximilian Doerr's slightly nerdy grey cardigans and corduroy trousers were entirely wearable. Anna Schmidt-Risak showed long-line, unstructured women's jackets and a cocoon-shaped coat in herringbone wool that looked like a quirky take on Armani's relaxed tailoring of the late Seventies. Risak's stated ambitions echoed that of her classmates: "I'm just hoping to get a job with a designer house. One day I'd like to do my own label," she said after the show, held at the London Fashion Week headquarters next to the Natural History Museum.
On Monday the focus shifts to Milan.Reuse content