Graduate Show 2006

Saint Martins finds itself out of fashion

By Hilary Alexander Fashion Director, The Daily Telegraph

Central St Martins, the London fashion college that produced Britain's brightest design talents of the last decade, lost its place on the cutting edge at Graduate Fashion Week last night.

It was usurped dramatically by Westminster University in a show that featured the work of only 17 students, compared with CSM's roll-call of 40 BA graduates.

The clothes were rambunctious, took no prisoners in terms of design, taking inspiration from Tokyo's wild Shinjuku and Harajuku districts, Sixties Pop-Art, the Union Jack and punk rock.

Female models wore moustaches, male models wore full make-up, an Afghan hound appeared in a sequined disco-coat and the music ranged from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Village People.

In comparison, the show by Central Saint Martins, whose old boy roll call includes the mavericks-turned-millionaires John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, resembled a vicarage fete."This is what British fashion is really about,'' said Christopher Bailey, Westminster graduate and now creative director of Burberry. It was rebellious, rude and individual. Most fashion colleges are too afraid to shock.

Reality defeats avant-garde on student catwalk

The Evening Standard 7 June 2006 by Becky Davies

The final slot of this year's Graduate Fashion Week went to London's very own Westminster University.

Giving each student's collection its moment on the catwalk often means these shows drag on and on, but last night the audience of friends, family and, most importantly, industry recruiters packed into Battersea Park's exhibition tent were treated to a slick, well-edited show.

Showing his support from the front row was Christopher Bailey, creative director of Burberry, whose final-year show for Westminster University won him collection of the year in 1992.

At student fashion shows practicality is not a prerequisite - and there were enough avant-garde, creative oddities not to disappoint. These included black and white Joker hats from Emma Brice, skin-tight indigo jeans with 20-inch floor skimming black leather trimming created by Jade Watts, Gemma Hall's Cruella De Vil-style monochrome fur jackets and T-shirts bearing rude slogans from Gwen Ash.

With only a few minutes to showcase their collections, it is understandable that some students resort to shock tactics.

But fortunately there were also plenty of insightful graduates who realise that people actually want to wear clothes - not simply look at them in an art gallery. There was Sarah Ludbrook's seaside-friendly collection of white hanky hemmed crochet dresses accessorised with ice-creams, flasks and cake tiers; Helen Haynes's hooded waterproof jacket-dresses; re-worked trenches from Emma Downing; and swooshed pleated dresses from Laura Clarkson. All fitted the commercial bill. The highlight? Nicola Stewart. Her refreshing floral-print skirts, jackets and trousers teamed with see-through plastic coats and jackets were great, but when her final model walked out accompanied by a beautiful Afghan hound (complete with a matching coat) the audience whooped - full marks.

For more information about the course please go to our stand alone site at: www.westminsterfashion.com