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College Reunion

Phoebe Philo, Hussein Chalayan, and More Gather to Toast Their Central Saint Martins Prof

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Tammy Kane and Christopher Kane   
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To put the power of the infamously potty-mouthed Louise Wilson, course director of the master's program in fashion at London's Central Saint Martins, in perspective, think of this: Hackney. Gritty, dismal, rat-ridden East London, and not the cool Hoxton or Shoreditch bits, but deep within the bowels of the east, where even designers who work in the area grind their teeth at the thought of going. When Christopher Kane, Phoebe Philo, Jonathan Saunders, Hussein Chalayan, Richard Nicoll, Danielle Scutt, and Todd Lynn, among many others, made the trek on Thursday night to celebrate their teacher's Order of the British Empire, you knew you were dealing with an icon.

"Louise is so wonderfully foul-mouthed and typically incorrect," said Style.com's Sarah Mower, who organized the party in the professor's honor at The Roost, a photo/film studio that looks like a private house. "When she received her OBE, we knew we had to do something because Louise was just going to let it pass unnoticed, and we couldn't allow that to happen." That she's worshipped by her students is no secret: "It's irrelevant to Louise what direction you take as long as you're convinced by that direction," said Jonathan Saunders. "She makes you realize that you can't be too precious, which is good training when fashion critics attack." Wilson's been known to go on the attack herself. "I've seen her drop-kick a mannequin in fury across the room because she was unhappy about a student's work," said Richard Nicoll. "And believe me, there are hundreds of these kinds of stories."

There were no flying objects at the party, but there was a lot of action on the dance floor, which boasted its very own smoke machine. Oh, and let's not forget the table absolutely groaning with gifts from everyone from Stella McCartney to Donna Karan to Alber Elbaz. Along with John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, they're part of an endless group of designers either influenced by or educated by a woman known as a genius, but who describes herself as "basically just a fat f-cker who by some fluke gets to teach really great people."

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