This was the first CSM master graduates show without the key impulse of the late MA course director Louise Wilson. A poster depicting her office by German art photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, the wall carpeted in notes from designers who went on to the big leagues, was left on each seat as a silent homage.
This uneven show suggested the next chapter for this famous school is a work in progress, while reflecting the indisputable momentum for men’s wear today.
Of the 15 students showing on Friday night, only the men’s designers sent out accomplished collections, notably Ben Rice with his boxy outerwear in raw denim and waxed cotton; and Charles Jeffrey for his artsy take on Aran sweaters, tucked into slouchy dress pants cinched with chunky belts.
The rest came off as an exercise in creating textures rather than shapes. Many exits looked like agglomerations of glittery and/or foamy household rubbish. The hodge-podge feeling of many looks left the impression that creativity requires a minimum of control and direction. That seems to have been Wilson’s invaluable contribution to this widely watched show.