Back in February we joinedProfessor Louise Wilson and many others to admire the work of the five lucky Central St Martins finalists in the prestigious college's collaboration with luxury Swiss brand Bally. The students, all in their first or second years at CSM were chosen by Wilson to create women's shoe designs, focusing on a "high editorial value and strong luxury feel".
This September sees the finished collection finally hit Bally stores worldwide, with the launch in conjunction with Vogue's infamous Fashion's Night Out. As well as being available online at bally.com, the shoes will hit the following Bally stores; Beijing Shing Kong Place, Berlin, Beverly Hills, Hong Kong IFC, London, Milan, New York City, Paris, Singapore Ion, Vienna and Zurich.
"We are very excited about this collaboration with the students from CSM," Bally's CEO Berndt Hauptkorn said, "We see this as a long term partnership and a key part of Bally's evolution as a modern heritage brand in the world of luxury." OBE Louise Wilson also praised the collaboration, "It is always good news when brands choose to support young creative talent; Bally has given these students the opportunity to realise their designs and an invaluable insight into the operations side of their chosen field."
With less than two weeks to wait until the beginning of the fall couture collections, fashion editors and buyers the world over are getting excited for the fantastical results of Paris' finest ateliers, and fashion's most influential designers. Haute couture as it stands is already a luxurious level above the seasonal ready-to-wear lines, but this isn't stopping Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci in his aim to take the French tradition to the next level. How does he plan to do this, you may ask? Strangely enough, by dropping the usual catwalk show and replacing it with exclusive private appointments - and before you jump to any conclusions, the move has nothing to do with money.
"I want to make couture even more special than it is, and not just another catwalk show," the Central St Martins alum explained to WWD, "People can really experience the couture moment: See it, touch it". Instead, Tisci will be inviting editors and clients to private viewings to begin on the 6th of July, held in an eighteenth-century townhouse in Place Vendôme, Paris - with the appointments reportedly costing 35% more than the usual runway show.
The latest couture collection is said to contain no black (a mean feat for Givenchy), and consist of only ten looks, which is less than half the content Tisci produced for the label's Spring offering. Couture represents a "special, high level service" Tisci explained, and it is this that his new system will embody.
Yi Fang Wan should be happy this week - after all, she just took first prize in the highly anticipated Central St Martins College of Art graduate fashion show. Besting 40 other collections from some of London's best style talent, she had a captive audience of industry guests to make her sartorial debut.
The show's judging panel included Marios Schwab, the Telegraph's Hilary Alexander and fashion filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson. Winners (including first and second runners-up Phillip Patterson and Alex Mullins) were awarded cash prizes of as much as ₤1,000 from Fashion Fringe - not to mention the (priceless) opportunity to show their work to guests in the audience ranging from alum Gareth Pugh to Met Costume Institute Director Harold Koda.
Yi Fang Wan impressed judges with voluminous looks in neutral shades, with other trends - as Fashionista sums up - including Surrealist and Dada styles, plus more-is-less Galliano-style print collections.
Eighty students were left disappointed at Central St Martins yesterday, when a panel of industry experts selected the top 40 graduates to show their collections for the university's press show next Tuesday. In total, the 125 graduates from St Martins' programs for women's wear, menswear, knit, print and fashion design and marketing showed work to a jury, and even the collections that didn't make the cut were anything but ordinary.
Fashionista has shots from the designers who didn't quite make the cut - and we have to say, there are some great pieces there. Judges looked for attractive, succinct collections with unique vision to make their call. Willie Walters, fashion BA course director, explains it this way: “People come to us for creative idea generators, not someone who can design a great high street collection. They can get that from another college.”
Rumour on the wire has it that Christopher Kane will be Anna Wintour's next unsuspecting victim. However, the Scottish designer should not fear: after following Kane since his graduate show from the renowned Central St Martins MA course, Wintour plans to make Kane big in America, so much so that he should become a 'household name'.
The Vogue editor was reportedly overheard at the viewing for Kane's latest collection for Versus - the range that he produces as a diffusion for Versace, a house for whom he was inspired by at the very beginning of his career, and a venture that also had something to do with Miss Wintour introducing the young designer to Donatella. Looking at Wintour's track record for mentoring her chosen protégés - John Galliano being a prime example - we're guessing it won't be long until Wintour works her magical ways. Christopher Kane, meet America. America, meet Christopher Kane. Watch this space...
The relaxed environment at the Bally and Central St Martins collaboration today seemed a far cry from the busied blur of London Fashion Week so far. To calming background music, guests mingled with tea and canapes in the Brown's Hotel, Mayfair, and between two rooms the winning 10 designs from Central St Martins students were showcased whilst OBE Louise Wilson showed her support.
The original brief saw 15 students from both the first and second years at Central St Martins chosen by Louise Wilson creating shoe designs for Bally with a focus on maintaining a 'high editorial value and a strong luxury feel', though the lust-worthy heels shown today had been whittled down from 15 designers to five, with a final winner to be chosen soon in time for AW10 production. The winning designer will see both of their final two designs produced and sold alongside the mainline collection this fall, and will be chosen by a select judging panel from both Central St Martins and Bally.
Want the perfect remedy to a bad day? Wear head-to-toe Louise Gray. The Scottish designer behind the self-titled line has us sold on her bright, rebellious East London quirk - and she's the perfect example of how a background in hand embroidery can come in handy. Gray's simple lines let her fabrics speak for themselves, and speak loudly they do. Or at least fashion-scouting guru Lulu Kennedy thought so, since she invited the Central St Martins grad to Fashion East for three seasons straight at the start of her career.
What's a typical day like in Gray's studio? Let's just say, don't show up if you're anti-Guns n' Roses.
Any intern will tell you that they hope one day, to hold the position of the person for which they are interning. Wes Gordon, the Atlanta-born designer to watch, has achieved this goal at break-neck speed. From interning at Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta, at the tender age of 23, the Central St Martins graduate recently chose to unveil his debut 20-piece collection to buyers and editors in a suite at the St Regis Hotel.
Having closed the CSM BA Honours Fashion Show last year with his stunning 'Glass Collection', Gordon has drawn inspiration from beautiful women for his first collection. He told Vogue.com "The collection was inspired by all the beautiful girls I know or wish I knew, like Lauren Bacall. These women exude modern elegance, wearing exquisitely tailored clothes with a certain twist and edge - not unlike themselves. My goal is to design pieces that combine creativity and fun." The collection really does reflect this and is packed full of paired-down classics every 'beautiful' girl needs to have in he wardrobe including; belted coatigans, high-waisted skirts, draped dresses, a tailored leather jacket with brocade sleeves, skin-tight leather trousers and long-sleeved maxis, all with interesting finishing touches. Have a peek below and be the judge.
Anna Wintour has taken her campaign for supporting talented young designers to the streets of Paris. Currently in the city for Couture Week, Wintour managed to fit in a 30-minute tete-a-tete with Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue, Hamish Bowles and Christian Estrosi, the French industry minister, to thrash out ideas as to how the capital can offer support to the fashion industry and the young designers trying to enter it.
In a press conference held following the brief meeting, in response to Wintour's suggestions, Mr Estrosi replied: "She's right. Everyone knows the role Anna plays in making New York a great fashion capital. My objective was to benefit from her experience."
If Corinne Grassini could have a design motto, then it probably should be "no more drama." The California-born founder of Society for Rational Dress believes, as did London's Rational Dress Society in the 19th century, that women should have the freedom to choose what they wear. Simple and attractive, no? Grassini, who studied sociology in Seattle before honing her patternmaking skills at Central St Martins, finds personal taste more important than celebrity trendsetting. That means functional beauty with influences from architecture. We bet the original Rational Dress Society, which stood up against Victorian constriction, would be proud.
This week, Grassini invites us in her studio for a cup of coffee and a little Beyonce. We think that's pretty rational, indeed.