The MA class of 2019 presented their final collections on-schedule during LFW
In the midst of LFW, Central Saint Martins’ MA class of 2019 presented their graduate collections. With buzz around the prestigious fashion school – and the opportunity to see some #extra fashions – growing considerably each season, this time around saw a FROW that boasted the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Simon Amstell, Andrew Garfield, and Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa.
A slightly tamer outing (yes, really) than usual – i.e. there were no paddling pool-wearing models – this year saw a familiar face in the form of Dazed 100 designer Goom Heo, who graduated the school’s BA course in 2017 and has since moved on to the MA. A more refined working of her first graduate collection, this time around Heo explored the idea of overdressing via her sportswear-like silhouettes.
Elsewhere, new names appeared on the catwalk for the first time. Marvin Desroc was among one of the standouts, creating an authentic, sexy collection that explored black masculinity, from the rare perspective of a black male designer. His models walked down the runway in sheer tops in black and white that looked like tights. Equally sexy, but exploring femininity instead was Nensi Dojaka, whose patchwork spaghetti-strap dresses were made of stitched sheer panels in black and nude tones.
Here, we round up five of our favourite collection of the night, catching up with the designers behind them.
The first collection of the night came courtesy of Gerrit Jacob, who opened with a shrunken mint knit with matching tie, and wide-leg jeans with animated skulls worn by Lennon Gallagher. Describing his aesthetic as “dodgy suburbia”, Jacob uses his work to examine class-based identities. “I wanted to convey a sort of camp aggression,” he explains on his graduate collection. “That duality between hard and soft is something that influences every step of my design process.” Elsewhere, that contrast appeared via a patchwork denim top and trousers, paired with a flocked keychain and velvet boots. Like many young designers, Jacob is uncertain of what the future will hold for him. “I’m currently evaluating my options and would love to present another collection, but that’s mainly a question of funding,” he says. We hope to see more from him soon.
For Beirut-born Sheryn Akiki, her campy collection was inspired by the political climate in her home country right now. Inspired by “women on the run”, models looked as if they’d run out of the house while getting dressed, their looks twisted about their bodies or rumpled as if unironed. Make-up too was rushed, mascara smudged and lipstick smeared. A melting pot of inspirations – “Gaddafi’s Amazonian bodyguards, Beirut’s “perfect” ladies, a rear-view mirror, rush hour, a secretary, and a bellydancer” among them – one of the collection’s standout looks was a glittering gown, interspersed with knitted elements. Akiki also takes home the prize for most minimal heels, made up of a piece of elastic holding the heel to the foot.
Inspired by the intense pace of modern dating and softness in both the metaphorical and physical realms, Pavel Vlodarski’s collection featured giant foam men that sat on the models’ heads like hats, or engulfed them. “They represent the men I had a crush on who rejected me, or I rejected them but still carry the thought of them with me,” he tells us. His self-described “streetwear for soft boys”, featured oversized trousers, suits that were scrunched up at the sides, intentionally riding up, and neoprene-like lapels that bounced around as the models walked. One knit looked like a green slice of Edam, with holes exposing the models’ body. “I’m bored with the trend of oversexualising and acting overconfident,” he says. “I want all awkward and shy boys to feel attractive and important; vulnerability and softness is beautiful.”
It’s likely you heard Erika Maish’s designs before you saw them – even over the booming soundtrack. Inspired by her summer trips through America’s southwestern desert – particularly houses in Nevada made from glass bottles – Maish’s collection was made up of looks created out of found objects like ring-pulls from cans, massage beads, and vintage necklaces. “I wanted the collection to challenge the idea of what materials can be worn and how those materials can be moulded to fit the body,” she tells us. Elsewhere, a sports bra and shorts were completely embellished with crystals. “I chose to explore different iterations of spirituality,” Maish says. “I wanted to show the juxtaposition between conservatism and the esoteric. What next? “Lots of sleep!” she says.
After presenting her BA collection back in 2017, Goom Heo returned to present her MA collection this year. Following the barrage of memes that followed her previous collection, Heo wanted to explore the idea of why people with OTT outfits are laughed at by those who dress more conservatively. “I really wanted to tell people who wear my clothes not to care what others think,” she says. “They should feel fabulous no matter what. The collection itself featured the alternative sportswear the designer is known for – high tech materials in sleek silhouettes – with unexpected elements this season appearing in the form of the curved toed shoes and sheer material that hung off the looks. “It’s bold, graphic, and masculine yet feminine,” Heo says of her aesthetic.