Central St. Martins BA graduate show

I had a great day at the St. Martin’s assisting Lan with make-up. I have met lots of great people…

Its BA graduate show, featuring the collections of 40 of the college’s top students, explored every inspiration from fantasy to futurism. Gone were the monochromatic, uber-minimalist, joyless processionals of previous years.

In their place were astonishing degrees of skill using unconventional materials such as wood, rubber, man-mades and metals, alongside the softer, more tactile expected silks, velvets and satins.

The L’Oréal Professionnel Award for Young Talent, was won by Yi Fang Wan, who showed an extremely graceful, layered collection in soft pink and ivory , incorporating intricate pleating ansd draping to create airy volume, interspersed with fitted, softly tailored pieces. The first runner-up was Phillip Patterson with a very well-executed menswear collection in khaki and charcoal with washed knits and longer shirts under shorter jackets; it could have walked straight off the catwalk into any menswear boutique. Alex Mullins was second runner-up, also with menswear, but the polar opposite of Patterson’s. Mullins’ surreal romp, with overtones of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, mixed inflatable jackets, fringing, bunting fluttering across a red, white and blue suit, and one model wearing a paintbrush on his head.

There were special mentions for Eloise Jephson, whose dinosaur-inspired prints, enchanting on swirling silk chiffon, with matching turbans, were best-in-show. Magical lions, tigers, and giraffes were glimpsed amongst unearthly foliage, savages with spears and colourful butterflies. Also in for an SM was Sorcha O’Raghallaigh, who closed the show with stilt-walkers, instead of models, towering over the audience in a fantastical parade of ‘wedding’ costumes, including a flower-girl, bridesmaid and bride, in bejewelled knits, floral-appliqued crocheted, rose-strewn silks, and lace, veiled in gossamer-like tulle.

There was even room for a smile and a laugh or too, and why not? Fashion should not take itself too seriously. Onez Lau produced a hilarious knitwear collection which included a complete horse’s head, plain-and-purled into the front of a cardigan, and a reindeer-pattern dress with the slogan ‘Oh Deer!’ on the back, while Hiroko Nakajima almost used everything but the kitchen sink in his collection which incorporated furniture and soft furnishings into clothes – a picture frame as a necklace; curtains on a pole to exaggerate strong shoulders – and finished with a model “dressed” as a green brocade, gold fringed armchair.

The student fashion season continues today, June 2nd, with Westminster’s BA show. London College of Fashion shows on June 3rd, Instituto Marangoni on June 4th and Brighton on June 5th. Graduate Fashion Week, sponsored by River Island, and featuring BA student collections from more than 60 universities and fashion colleges, opens at London’s Earls Court 2, on Sunday, June 6th.

By Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director for Telegraph.com