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July 31 2014

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46 posts tagged "Central Saint Martins"

EXCLUSIVE: Fashion East Reveals Spring ’15 Lineup

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EdHelen

Believe it or not, the Spring ’15 shows are just around the corner, which means it’s time for us to reveal the trio of up-and-comers who have earned the support of Lulu Kennedy’s young designer initiative, Fashion East. This season, whimsical maximalist Edward Marler, a Central Saint Martins grad who already counts Katie Grand and M.I.A. as fans, will join returning talents Helen Lawrence and Louise Alsop. All three emerging designers will present their collections in the Fashion East group show during London fashion week. “Our lineup represents the ideas, energy, and boldness of the London scene right now,” Kennedy told Style.com. “Each designer feels totally relevant and on message.” Considering former Fashion Easters include Meadham Kirchhoff, Jonathan Saunders, and Simone Rocha, you can bet that, come 1 p.m. on September 16, our eyes will be glued to the Fashion East runway.

Louise

Photos: Courtesy of Fashion East

London’s Luke Brooks and Beth Postle Fuse T-Shirts, Art, and Sincerity

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Trees and FacesIf you are in London this week, I highly recommend—nay, insist—that you stop by Trees & Faces, a pop-up shop launched by up-and-coming designers Luke Brooks and Beth Postle. The store, whose countertops are comprised of Brooks’ artist father’s paint-encrusted tables (his works are on display, too), is set in East London at 99 Morning Lane, and is open through Sunday, July 20. On offer are one-of-a-kind T-shirts hand-painted with Brooks’ trees (he’s lovingly dubbed those “tree shirts”) and Postle’s abstract, freestyle faces. Also for sale are a range of Brooks’ foam “G-O-D-” and flower fascinators, as well as Postle’s leather goods, made in collaboration with Hannah Cope.

Brooks, if you’ll remember, made quite a stir with his Central Saint Martins MA collection back in 2012, when he, along with Craig Green, won the coveted L’Oréal Professionnel award. Since, the designer has built upon his cerebral, largely handmade approach to design. He has presented at London fashion week, been featured in such magazines as Dazed & Confused and Love, and even crafted looks for Lady Gaga. Postle, meanwhile, is the little sister of Brooks’ friend Jenny Postle, another CSM grad who is one half of vibrant knitwear label Leutton Postle. Beth, too, is in the CSM crew, and will complete her MA this fall.

“Aside from immediate visual aspects that cross over slightly, like painterly-ness, I think [Beth and I] work well together for a few reasons,” Brooks told Style.com. “First, we both care about injecting a degree of humor into our work. But equally important is the fact that it’s sincere work, not ironic or glib. The craft of making is very, very important to both of us. And the things we make look like they were made by a person, with feeling.”

Indeed, the shirts have an emotive, genuine quality to them. And the vibrancy of each DIY product reflects the designers’ untainted passion and enthusiasm. “We bounce ideas off each other very well,” said Postle. “We both get excited and love the work we do, which is quite rare.”

While the one-off T-shirts boast a definitive artistic quality, the price points are (thankfully) significantly less lofty than those you’d find in a gallery. Accessories start at £20, while clothes range from £60 to £120. “We wanted to keep the prices as low as we possibly could because the impetus behind this project is an urge to see people wearing and enjoying our things now, in the summer, having fun,” said Brooks. “It is very much in that spirit—an easy spirit.”

Faces & Trees is located at 99 Morning Lane, London, E9 6ND. The pop-up will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday, July 20.

Photo: Courtesy of Luke Brooks and Beth Postle

Louise Wilson to Be Honored With Fashion Fund

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Louise WilsonProfessor Louise Wilson, the inimitable director of the MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins, died earlier this month at age 52. Today, her family released a statement saying that there will be a private funeral for the beloved educator in Scotland, as well as a memorial in London later this year. Furthermore, the statement revealed that a fund “to honor Professor Louise Wilson’s profound belief in access to fashion education” will be established in the near future. Wilson’s fierce dedication to her pupils (including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and more) and their success was one of her most remarkable qualities. Thus, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting tribute than one that will aid the next generation of fashion students, particularly at a time when the cost of a design education in the U.K. is becoming increasingly prohibitive.

Photos: Ian Gavan/ Getty Images

Why I Loved Louise Wilson: Katharine K. Zarrella Remembers What It Was Like to Be Taught by the Fearsome, Brilliant, and Irreplaceable Fashion Educator

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Louise WilsonI woke up to a devastating e-mail from Roger Tredre, my Central Saint Martins graduate tutor, this morning. “Louise Wilson has died,” read the subject line. “This is a great shock,” the message continued. “A very sad day.” Wilson, the revered Central Saint Martins Fashion MA course director, passed away in her sleep on Friday night. She was 52.

It is a sad day. Not only for the Saint Martins students fortunate enough to have been yelled at by the at once feared and adored professor, but for the fashion industry as a whole. Wilson, who was known to have some, let’s call them “unorthodox” teaching methods (screaming profanities was the least of it), helped mold many of the most brilliant design talents of the last twenty years. Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, and more all at one point stood (and probably cried) in her whitewashed office, the walls of which were covered in thank-you notes from graduates and heavy-hitting designers like Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz. He was a friend of Wilson’s who often came to speak at the school at her request. Such was the irreplaceable educator’s influence in the industry: While she was a force to be reckoned with—and a terrifying one at that—she was beloved by alums and movers and shakers alike. No one said no to Louise Wilson—not because they were afraid to, but because they didn’t want to.

I studied on the journalism pathway of the Central Saint Martins Fashion MA from 2010 until my graduation in 2012. And while I refused to admit it at the time, I was scared shitless of Louise. I remember the first day of my two-year stint at the school, when she walked into a room filled with aspiring journalists and designers and invited them to ask her questions about the course and the industry in general. It took a good while for anyone to come forward, thanks to Wilson’s famously intimidating presence. Eventually, I sheepishly raised my hand and inquired about her thoughts on a pair of American designers who were particularly hot at the moment. She leaned on the desk, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Not much,” before taking the next question.

That was Louise’s way, both in conversation and education. She was refreshingly blunt, funny in the borderline offensive way that only the English can be, and had the ability to teach you more about not only fashion, but life in one terse sentence than most could in a decade. All eight of the students on my course initially thought Louise hated us. And who knows, in the beginning, she may have. She told us that we were “visually blind,” that we spat out too many words without saying anything, and, as a classmate noted today, she taught us that we needed to go to the design studio, not just the classroom, to learn how to be good fashion journalists.

I’ll never forget when I walked into her office to present the first draft of our class newspaper, The Central Saint Martins Journal, which was set to be distributed during the Fall ’12 CSM graduate show at London fashion week. Needless to say, she had her reservations (we were visually blind, after all) and wanted to ensure our work was fit to sit alongside that of her designers. At first, it wasn’t. She told me that the draft looked like a “venereal disease,” and proceeded to scream about writers’ lack of attention to aesthetics and the poor state of journalism for a solid forty-five minutes before dismissing me. After weeks of deliberating and arguing, the class decided that Louise’s disapproval only made us want our paper more.

She was surprised to see us back at her office door two months later, a second draft in hand. With a little guidance, we finally got her stamp of approval (we weren’t allowed to use any images, and our cover was blank, but that’s beside the point), and the final result still sits on my bookshelf. At the CSM show’s after-party, Louise gave me a hug, put her hands on my shoulders, and said, “Did you see it? It was on the seats!” before walking up the stairs of the since-shuttered London outpost of Le Baron nightclub.

That’s another thing about Louise. She didn’t wash her hands of you after you stepped off campus. Until her death, she attended many of her students’ fashion shows—I’d always see her backstage in London offering praise and, sometimes, advice to the likes of Louise Gray, Richard Nicoll, and Simone Rocha. She may have tortured them at Saint Martins, but she was there for them until the end. “She was a truly brilliant teacher because she showed students how to make ordinary work into extraordinary work, and took them on the journey with her,” recalls Tredre. “It was tough love all the way with Louise, but that tough love was, she believed, the best preparation for the real world.”

But it wasn’t just that Louise wanted her students to be prepared for the unforgiving beast that is the fashion industry—she wanted them to put their whole selves, and their best selves, into each stitch of their designs. She hated unnecessary flash; privileged, unwarranted arrogance; and, most of all, laziness. Nothing but heartfelt, sweat-infused perfection was allowed on the CSM fashion week runway. And given the caliber of collections we’ve seen year after year, her high standards paid off.

While I wasn’t as close to Louise as her design students, I still can’t begin to list all that she taught me. We don’t have the bandwidth. One thing I will say, though, is that her approach was flawless. For instance, during my final year, I needed to interview her for a story. She thought my questions were absolute crap and, as punishment, gave me only one-word responses. (Even so, they were some of the best answers I’ve gotten in my journalistic career.) Ever since, when preparing for an interview, I think to myself, Would Louise answer this? before settling on a query.

“There’s a phrase, ‘All fur coat and no knickers,’” Louise told me during a 2011 interview for Style.com. “Saint Martins has always focused on the knickers.” With that in mind, I’d like to say thank you, Louise, for helping me, and so many others, find our knickers.

Photo: Dave M. Benett/ Getty Images

Louise Wilson, R.I.P.

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Louise WilsonProfessor Louise Wilson, the renowned Central Saint Martins Fashion MA course director who launched the careers of former students like Lee Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and more recently Simone Rocha and Craig Green, has died. She passed away in her sleep last night while visiting her sister in Scotland. She was 52.

A Saint Martins grad herself (she was lucky enough to have Ossie Clark as her tutor in the eighties), Wilson worked at the London-based college from 1992 through her death, taking a brief hiatus in the late nineties after being headhunted by Donna Karan. She was famed for her brash, often outrageous teaching tactics and outbursts, though her dedication to her students was never questioned—Wilson would consistently go above and beyond to help them grow, succeed, and earn placements at such houses as Lanvin and Balenciaga.

Wilson had been in poor health for some time due to breast cancer. She leaves behind her partner of more than thirty years and their son. Wilson was not only a pillar of the London fashion community—she was a veritable institution and inspiration for designers and fashion lovers worldwide. Many of today’s greatest talents owe her a huge debt of gratitude. She will be sorely missed.

Photos: Ian Gavan/ Getty Images