Style: Central St Martins MA show A/W 2011

Top London design college Central St Martins is renowned for producing unique, cutting edge design talent from its MA course tutored by the inimitable course director Louise Wilson OBE.

Many go on to influence and inspire leading figures in the fashion world, and some have become the biggest names in the industry today, including Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen and Richard Nicholl.

With this in mind, attending the CSM MA show genuinely feels as though you are witnessing the birth of the next big thing. Attracting an impressive front row including Daphne Guinness, Marina Diamandis and blogger Bip Ling, this is the show that can launch the careers of the young designers, as it has done for so many before them.

It was a night of success for MA graduates Phoebe English and Viktor Smedinge, who jointly won the L’Oreal Professional creative award, and a £5,000 cash injection to help launch their brands. This was not the first time English impressed, having previously won both the Ungaro Bursary and Chloe award.

English’s collection was dark, slick and sexy, revealing a series of full length black dresses, seemingly created out of long black hair, which cascaded down the models body, wispy and loose.

Black patent panels were seen too, often to create the upper armour of the dress, or to form straps or belts, cinched in at the waist to add definition to the silhouette. These textures were played with in a number of different looks, some creating shorter pieces, or to add emphasis to shoulders. The overall look was comparable to a raven, with heavy feathering and hair similar to that of a bird. Creative and unique, it was quite clearly a stand-out collection from the graduate.

Viktor Smedinge’s collection was also deserving of the award, showcasing a number of pieces with rolled detailing at the hips, hems and pockets, drawing comparisons with paper scrolls. The sand coloured coats, trousers and skirts were attached to simple silk black dresses, adding a modern touch to the classic piece. Each garment was cleverly constructed resulting in an elegant, and thoroughly wearable collection.

Others that caught our eye included Marta Marques’ and Paulo Almeida’s distressed denim looks, an update of the nineties classic appearing in the form of tunic tops and dresses, occasionally dyed black, and paired with black corduroy tops.

Rejina Pyo’s two tone silk dresses stood out, in eye-catching shades of black and coral, lemon yellow, electric blue and watermelon, tumbling over models bodies, creating a sleek and fluid silhouette. The collection made a powerful statement as models carried giant totems down the runway, or blocks in their mouths, providing a contrast with the beautiful dresses on display and lending an almost religious, ceremonial tone to the collection.

All in all, as anticipated the Central St Martins grads did not fail to impress, presenting some stunning collections that could easily be seen on the shop floor or in the Newgen exhibition next season, proving once again, British fashion talent is where it’s at.

Gallery of Phoebe English and Viktor Smedinge and images from Arts Thread blog.

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