Landing page of Central Saint Martin platform to showcase this year's 33 graduating talent.

GOING VIRTUAL: London’s Central Saint Martins has moved its MA Fashion graduate show online this year in response to the social distancing rules imposed by the third COVID-19 lockdown in the U.K.

The school released an immersive site on Thursday afternoon with a landing page that digitized the school’s campus on 1 Granary Square with three giant lipstick-shaped rectangles floating on a pink sky, with sponsor information written on them.

The audience were welcomed with a speech by designer Michèle Lamy. Then they could go into the virtual exhibition gallery to see the students’ behind-the-scenes images during collection developments.

At the end of the gallery were the designer rooms, where one could explore each student’s work by clicking the images hanging on the virtual wall. In the rooms, students showcased their graduate collections via a mix of films, images and visual concepts, with additional information provided in texts.

The announcement of this year’s winners of the Professionnel Creative Award, judged by fashion stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, was also revealed in one of the designer rooms.

This year’s winners were Sól Hansdóttir and António Castro, from women’s wear and textile pathways, respectively.

Karefa-Johnson said, “The general criteria for my assessment of the winners are the commitment to vision and practice and the effectiveness of communicating both clearly. I also felt I could really see the worlds they had created which excited me as an editor, whose job is to essentially travel to these strange planets inside the minds of these designers, metabolize what I saw and translate the vision for my audience back home.”

A recipient of the L’Oréal Professionnel Scholarship, Hansdóttir’s collection is “a study on chaos: evilness.” Her looks are heavily sculptural, iterated in a primary color palette.

“The collection is based on these three theories of evil, which I have constructed everything from in order to become comfortable in the realm of irrationality, exalting the fear of the unknown,” she said.

Castro is the recipient of the L’Wren Scott Scholarship and his collection is based on a Portuguese winter solstice ritual.

The designer came across this pagan tradition with ideas around gender and his interest in haute couture, artisanal versus mechanical processes, slit dresses and Zoom virtual backgrounds. He reconstructed silhouettes found in late 18th-century dress through dramatic draping, combining his inspiration from Marie Antoinette with traditional Portuguese weaving.

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