Central St Martins showcases LFW's new talent

21 February 2009

Central St Martins AW 09

The last show of the first day of London Fashion Week says more about the next decade of fashion in the capital than any trend predictor ever could. It's the most over-subscribed (crowd-wise) show on the schedule – obvious in the scrum at the door and the anticipation in the rows. There were buyers, press, friends and family alike in the crowd and each had a hoot or holler for the students showing their final collections. We've been to the show for many years, but we think that this was certainly one of their strongest recently. There were a few funny-borderline-quirky collections (always entertaining at a graduate show) but the majority of the collections were so professional they looked like they'd been showing for years.

We've whittled down the 17 shows into our favourite five below. They're in no particular order (but we must admit that number one really blew us away)...

1. Michael Van Der Ham

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Incredible fabrics patch-worked together using beautiful bright colours, brocades, silks and embroidery to create shapes from decades past. There may have been initial ‘What the...?' but after the first multi-coloured dress of many fabrics was followed by one shadowing it in complimenting black shades, the collection was immediately understood and esteemed. Sarah Mower was heard complimenting the collection and designer on camera after show, so watch this space – we reckon Michael Van Der Ham will be another impressive notch on St Martins' belt.

2. Chary Westberg

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We have been banging on for ages that clashing colours are to be celebrated, but Chary took it to another level. Shades of pink, orange and red in velvet, suede and cotton were patched together and layered up – long dresses over narrow trousers and jumpers in contrasting colours. Bold and exciting, with confident use of colour – plus never before did we think that we needed red suede wedge boots in our lives – we do.

3. Laura Mackness

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It takes a certain kind of collection to make a fashion show audience smile, but Laura managed it with a cartoon collection – not that there was anything childish about it. Cone hats, black hand prints, eyelash collars and lollypop stick jackets… It really needs to be seen to be understood. Really fun. The police sirens in the music helped too!

4. David Koma

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Black body-con dresses were embellished with silver, gold and multi-coloured chains and treated rope designs. It was reminiscent of Christopher Kane and Louise Gray. And hats off to David for also designing the shoes – very Alexander Wang. Though it did show us the models feet are looking a little red raw, already...

5. Oden Wilson

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We had to remind ourselves that we were at a student show when Oden's unusual, but pure luxe, collection closed the show. Huge, voluminous shapes in Prussian blue and bronze silks, encased the models. God knows how he created patterns for it.

- Kay Barron

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