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Central Saint Martins

Bonkers backstage beauty from the BA class of 2018.

photography and words john william

Lobster, tinned fish, plastic cutlery, vases made out of felted wool, macramé neon shoelaces… and that’s just what the models were wearing on top of their heads. You can always count on the St Martins degree show for liberal servings of style, sass and sartorial insurrection. This graduating gang will now join the in-crowd of CSM alumni; a guestlist that includes doyennes Galliano, McQueen and McCartney and contemporaries Molly Goddard and Charles Jeffrey.

Paolina Russo (who won the L’Oreal Professionnel Young Talent Award) showed a collection of subverted sportswear with hair made out of football shoelaces and adidas 3-stripe eyebrows. “I was really inspired by the rebellious suburban teen look. My hairstylist Taylor-Mary Anthony and I had our fair share of emo hairstyles growing up and took a lot of inspiration from that.”

I was really inspired by the rebellious suburban teen look. My hairstylist Taylor-Mary Anthony and I had our fair share of emo hairstyles growing up and took a lot of inspiration from that.

The makeup for my collection is based on the demons in each look. I used liquid lipsticks and I basically just did illustrations on everyone.

Steph Linn showed patchwork knits and prints scrawled with demonic faces. “The makeup for my collection is based on the demons in each look and they all reference parts of each’s personality. I used Fluide liquid lipsticks and I basically just did illustrations on everyone.” Clothes and makeup best worn by Beltane bonfirelight.

Although there were 41 very individual voices up on the catwalk, when you ask the graduate designer what they think is beautiful they are pretty much in harmony. “I think authenticity is beautiful” says Paolina. “Integrity and happiness!” says Leeann Huang. Masha Popova thinks “the beauty is in imperfection” and Patrick McDowell says “people expressing themselves as who they truly are is beautiful.” “Creation, in every aspect” states Randa Kherba who is echoed by Samson Leung who says “Beauty is creating and leaving a poetic moment in someone’s life.”

Beauty is to be yourself, to know who you are and be confident.

Knitwear designer Katya Zelentsova replies “I think beauty Is the vaguest concept in the world. I don’t even know what’s beautiful, it’s just intuitive.” Her collection of “sexy existential Russian looks” was paired with hair and make up inspired by a Soviet musical icon. “The look for my collection was Alla Pugacheva’s character in The Woman who Sings… in full face beat after two hours in a sauna. Sweaty glamour.”

Jie Wu looked to themself for inspiration. “My collection is about myself, and each garment represent me in different ways, different times and different emotions.” In a search for identity Wu presented 7 unique outfits made up of clashing, layered textiles intricately screen printed with butterflies, handwriting, swirls. Each worn by gender fluid models rocking totally different hair and make up looks. “For the make up I have chosen crystal. I think each person is like a shining diamond, and for me a crystal means pure and clean. It represents both my early ages and my future, and I need to keep shining all my life!”

The look for my collection was Alla Pugacheva’s character in The Woman who Sings… In full face beat after two hours in a sauna. Sweaty glamour.

For the make up I have chosen crystal. I think each person is like a shining diamond, and for me a crystal means pure and clean. I need to keep shining all my life!

A bubblegum pink flushed through the show with more than a few cheeky nods to Shy Di and her 80s blusher. Masha Popova was inspired by “memories of the women I’ve seen growing up. Wearing too much blush and lipstick in ridiculously bright colours and wearing fake hair extensions or bleached, frizzy hair.”

Class clown Harry Freegard (who threw his own funeral and opened his collection by scootering down the catwalk to a remix of Absolutely Fabulous, dragging a high-heeled skeleton behind) opts for blusher that makes the wearer look like they have been happy-slapped. “What do I find beautiful? HUMOUR! My makeup for the show really was proper slap! Hair was mainly kept natural with the exception of a stunning Princess Diana wig, and a ratty old blonde wig I was given for free in a costume shop I frequent in Soho.”

I think beauty Is the vaguest concept in the world. I don't even know what's beautiful, it's just intuitive.

Off colours from 80's Almodovar movies, tacky wallpapers, Rossy de Palma powdering her nose in a greasy toilet mirror, grainy screenshots...

Leeann Huang wanted her models to “look like people at a dinner party covered in food”, and alongside bourbon biscuit barrettes her hair was also dressed with seafood and wedges of lemon. Fruitiest collection of the bunch has to be Gui Rosa who showed ostrich feather drenched twin sets covered in wooly aubergines, bananas and grapes. Imagine if Carmen Miranda took up knitting. “Beauty for my collection feels especially relevant to me as it emulates the heydays of fashwan design. It really was a celebration of the great nineties catwalk moments but with a glamorous crafty edge to it.” Rosa (who appears to be wearing a wig made of feathers) was influenced by his Portuguese heritage “and growing up in Spain surrounded by women chit chatting shit all day! The collection is heavily inspired by the off colours from 80’s Almodovar movies, tacky wallpapers, Rossy de Palma powdering her nose in a greasy toilet mirror and grainy screenshots…”


 

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