On Friday evening, 15 students of the esteemed M.A. Fashion program at Central Saint Martins showed their graduate collections to a packed tent at Somerset House. It seemed that far more editors than usual had turned out, perhaps due to the influence of former course director Louise Wilson’s memorial service earlier in the day. The memorial service reminded us all of the importance of this show, the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the designers we will likely be watching and wearing in years to come. For it wasn’t so long ago that Simone Rocha, Jonathan Saunders and Richard Nicoll made their debut on this very runway. With talent-spotting in mind, we’ve chosen the four students we think have the most promise.
Catriona McAuley-Boyle showed more variation in her ten-piece collection than many designers do in an entire show. Airily constructed front panels sat comfortably on silk t-shirts, lace poured from the side of sweatshirts, and delicate prints adorned basketball shorts to create what can only be described as ladylike streetwear. In this vein, we can imagine her going on to work at Michael van der Ham, or even Dior in the future.
Beth Postle’s collection last night stood far apart from the others, with its painted abstract panels, curved cocoon shapes and innovative fabric combinations. The textile designer already has a sold-out menswear collection at London concept store Machine-A under her belt, and her B.A. collection garnered attention from Nick Knight’s ShowStudio. It was no surprise to us that last night the designer won the L’Oreal Professionnel Creative Award, judged by Charlotte Stockdale of Garage magazine. She told us her future plans are to “create more wearable pieces with these textiles, but I’m definitely keeping my options open.”
Hayley Grundmann has already achieved a near-impossible feat - her BA collection was so good, St. Martins accepted her to the MA program before she’d even graduated. Having already worked with Gareth Pugh and John Galliano, the designer’s B.A. collection “The Laundrette” showed the promise of a young Mary Katrantzou. Grundmann’s strength is her ability to create structural shapes in knitwear – foam tubes were woven, knitted, fringed and worked together with plastic, leaving fringes flying for dramatic effect.
Scottish designer Paul Thomson grew up on the remote island of Shetland, an influence that is clearly visible in his graduate collection. Wool was looped and sewn tightly together, varying textures to resemble patches of heather or moss. His final piece was especially striking, an oversized coat that served as showcase of each of his knitwear techniques, melded seamlessly together to look like shearling at first glance.