As soon as I arrived at Central Saint Martins last week, on my way to the BA Fashion student’ show 2018, a detail caught my attention. A student walking by in a victorian black corset and super low rise jeans, tucked into black leather high heels boots. His styling was on point, so was his confidence, and whether that was costume rehearsals or an eccentric daily look, the message was clear: “this is a haven for creativity”.
It was indeed a preview of what was to be staged in a few minutes. While on the catwalks forty students alternated over one hour, this year too the show turned out to be a happening of imagination at full gallop. Pure, undisputed, inquisitive experimenting, conveying the idea that what out of a place like CSM is still ground to political battle, within its walls is a militant new norm. Fantaisie au pouvoir, if you may. The students’ collections challenged and questioned the dressmaking in multiple ways, either prioritising the conceptual perspective or using their looks as wearable moodboards.
On the other hand, some designers actively challenged the notion of body shape. Vincent Lapp did that with clear references to London’s contemporary heritage – specifically, Leigh Bowery’s work.