Madonna made a surprise appearance at the annual Central Saint Martins BA fashion graduation show Tuesday afternoon in London.
Sitting next to singer FKA Twigs, the pop icon sat through the hour-long fashion show featuring works by 115 graduates in a Moschino leather ensemble while carrying a bag in the shape of a boombox by Midnight Studios, founded by Shane Gonzales.
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This year’s graduates touched on a great variety of social topics with their collections, such as modest fashion, ocean protection, gender identity, street culture, fantasy, artificial intelligence, cultural heritage, body inclusivity, and even childbirth with one designer showing a garment featuring a transparent artificial womb and another with a vivid fake baby at the front.
Another designer sent three models wearing QR codes down the runway. The codes are linked to a Instagram filter which allows those who scan the codes to try on the designs.
Three graduates were given the top prize, the L’Oréal Professionnel Young Talent Award. The grand prize went to knitwear designer Alice Morell-Evans, who has created knitwear pieces for Bethany Williams and Molly Goddard. She presented three intricate and culturally rich looks that redefined the limit of knitwear design with deeply personal references and a sustainable approach.
The headpiece in the first look was crocheted around her great grandfather’s chandelier. The gloves are made of waste yarn ends of Melin Tregwynt blankets. All the buttons in the collection were collected by her grandmother, while the third look was made almost entirely from paper yarn, waste leather scraps, antique tablecloths, and yarn scraps with horse brass joints.
Morell-Evans told WWD that her collection, which started with the idea of “restorative nostalgia and distortion of memory,” and “to emulate a sense of familiarity through clothing and touch,” aims “to communicate the memory of safety, order, comfort, and familiarity of my grandparents’ home but with the wildness of the grey mare ‘Mari Lwyd,’ causing havoc.”
Upon winning the grand prize, the Welsh designer said she is excited to “cultivate and grow” her collection. “I love putting the craft back into fashion and I’m excited to grow this idea much further,” she added.
Womenswear designer Emil Dernbach scored the first runner-up spot, while Diana Sträng from the Fashion Designer and Marketing pathway was awarded as the second runner-up.
Dernbach showcased graphic shape dresses made of metal and wool in Yves Klein blue. Speaking to WWD after the show, Dernbach said the collection was his response to the age of deep fakes and artificial intelligence that we are living in.
“My collection aims to explore the notions of society with manipulated identities by decoding the essence of who we are deep within. This collection is an insight into the possibilities of what collaboration between humans and machines can look like. It offers the opportunity to see technology’s inevitable improvement from an angle of excitement rather than fear and opens up the debate on what the future holds,” he said.
Having worked at Maison Margiela during the placement year, he hopes to return to Paris and continue to work within a Parisian fashion house upon graduation.
Fashion designer Kiko Kostadinov, one of the judges of this year’s L’Oréal Professionnel Young Talent Award, said the three winners were chosen for their “very strong personal points of reference. They look at their upbringing, families, and culture, and then twist it with what they want to present and what current fashion means to them.”
“Alice had a whole world created in her portfolio. She did mini sculptures which informed the dress shapes. She worked with local artisans on hats and shoes. A lot of leather patches on the dresses were from old shoes. She is very keen on the craft and it showed throughout every aspect of her work.
“Diana was great at taking very normal ideas and twisting them. The leather jacket was hand-painted in the north of Sweden by old traditional technique and the doll dress had the Swedish flag but in a very fresh way. She had two more looks which were amazing. Shame she couldn’t show,” he added.
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