46 posts tagged "Central Saint Martins"
Everyone knows their Marcs from their Calvins. But as fashion month rolls on, we’ll be spotlighting the up-and-coming designers and indie brands whose names you’ll want to remember.
Label: Faustine Steinmetz
Need to know: Parisian designer Faustine Steinmetz previewed Fall 2014, her third collection, this London fashion week in the NEWGEN showrooms in Somerset House. Steinmetz graduated from a starry Central Saint Martins MA class in 2011 that included Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques’Almeida, Phoebe English, and Maarten Van Der Horst. Since then she has worked steadily from her studio in East London, placing an emphasis on new and different ways of using yarn, shredding, curling, and embroidering her way to a unique fabric.
For Fall, Steinmetz turned her focus to hand-weaving, with a range of singular reworked garments that looked deceptively familiar. Up close, one Burberry-esque trenchcoat turned out to be a blend of rayon and copper, and what looked like classic blue jeans could in fact be scrunched together and adjusted to the body. “I wanted to reproduce the everyday pieces and give them an almost haute couture feel,” she told Style.com, grabbing a handful of mock-blue denim to demonstrate the pliability of the unusual weave. Steinmetz collects vintage Issey Miyake wares, and this collection was inspired by Miyake’s Pleats Please collections, particularly in how they blend wearability with the conceptual.
She says: “I love deformed things and the uncanny,” Steinmetz explained. “I think it’s really interesting when you see something that you know very well, but then it’s suddenly made in a different way. Anything that takes you a second to see and that challenges your perception fascinates me.”
Where to find it: LN-CC in London; Optitude and Isetan in Japan; and in the U.S., exclusively at Opening Ceremony.
You may remember Steven Tai from Spring ’14′s VFiles show, where the 29-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate presented his crisp range of sporty, silkscreened looks. But winning a spot in the fashion platform’s debut runway event isn’t Tai’s only claim to fame. In fact, the talent, who’s based in London by way of Macao, had been making the rounds in Europe and Canada for over a year before the VFiles romp. In 2012, his visually simple but technically mind-boggling designs won the Chloe award at the prestigious Hyeres festival; he’s been invited to show everywhere from Berlin to Toronto; and he’s already amassed a healthy crop of international stockists, VFiles, Canada’s Holt Renfrew, and London’s 125 Brick Lane among them. Tai now seems poised for fashion stardom, so it’s somewhat ironic that he spent most of his childhood trying to escape the garment game.
“My family did manufacturing for very technical sportswear, like bicycle gear for triathlons,” Tai told Style.com by phone from Hong Kong, where he was researching techniques and textiles. “I grew up around seamstresses and, as a kid, clothing was like the last thing I wanted to do.” However, while earning his business degree in Canada, Tai had a revelation. “I realized that I wanted to do something creative, and at the same time, a friend actually introduced me to Style.com, and the archive just opened up this whole new world for me.”
He enrolled in London’s competitive Saint Martins’ BA program and, when the designer wasn’t in classroom, he did stints at Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, and Damir Doma.
It’s easy to see that his mentors taught him well. Tai’s work is impeccably crafted using various, unexpected processes. For example, Spring ’14 incorporated laser cutting, silk screening, bonding, and puff paint accents, as well as a fractured pastoral motif. The latter was derived from photographs of a British bio-dome that were abstracted by artist Lola Dupré. “I’m always quite nostalgic for the past, so I wanted to start with something very traditional, and combine it with something technical and futuristic,” Tai explained of the lineup, which was inspired by cross-stitching and glitch art. As for his pared-down cuts, Tai offered, “At Saint Martins, nothing you can do is crazy enough. I learned from that, but it’s important to have a balance. Technology and textiles are the crazy parts of my collection. It’s all about these insane, complicated procedures, and the silhouette stays simple—otherwise, it gets a bit overwhelming.”
Fall ’14 will mark Tai’s first time presenting his wares in a Somerset House showroom at London fashion week. “The collection is a lot more deconstructed than last season,” he hinted. “The inspiration is shredded papers.” To tide fans over between the Spring and Fall drops, Tai has once again teamed up with Dupré, this time to create a range of Pre-Fall sweatshirts that will be available at select retailers and on Tai’s Web site this April. Priced between $296 and $740, the graphic, Swarovski crystal-embellished scuba jersey jumpers debut above, exclusively on Style.com.
Han Chong, the former creative director of contemporary British line Three Floor, feels there is somewhat of a white space between fast fashion and high-priced luxury wares. And this September, the designer decided he was going to do something about it by way of his new line, Self-Portrait. “It was important for me to launch Self-Portrait and create something that is sophisticated but still attainable for customers,” the Central Saint Martins-trained, London-based talent told Style.com. His eighteen-piece debut collection is all that and more. Priced between $97 and $423 at current exchange, the range fuses painstaking details (like the lace appliqués on trumpet-skirt frocks) and streetwear styles (think laser-cut tees and oversize bombers) to fresh and luxurious effect.
“I like to deconstruct classic shapes and develop these into new, more playful and mischievous designs,” Chong explained, noting that he is often inspired by the mix of visual cues he experiences outside the fashion realm (innovative industrial design and cinema, for example). The Spring ’14 outing boasts unexpected uses of sequins, mesh, and lace; a smart faux leather; and silhouettes that are both relaxed and hyperfeminine. And each garment, whether it’s a python-textured crepe skirt, a louche pair of trousers, or one of the designer’s intricate, geometric, multi-material dresses, receives the same amount of attention and care. “Most labels in our price point are based on rather minimal designs,” Chong said. Self-Portrait, however, is anything but.
Last year, Gill Linton launched Byronesque.com, a comprehensive Web site that, backed by Andrew Rosen and the late Marvin Traub, offers high-end vintage wares and sharp editorials. The online platform boasts a veritable treasure trove of rare, authenticated vintage designs, like an azure Jean Paul Gaultier frock, an asymmetrical Yohji Yamamoto dress, and a bevy of Thierry Mugler and Alaïa. And while it all looks spectacular in one’s browser, Linton felt she should create an IRL experience with the digital destination’s best stock.
Enter the site’s first brick-and-mortar venture, Byronesque.com//Offline, an exhibition and boutique housed in the dilapidated annex of the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City. Offline is complete with video installations, melancholic wall art by Craig Ward, and a vault of approximately forty impeccably dressed mannequins. Yesterday evening, insiders gathered to fete the project, which was punctuated with a live Polaroid photography session by the inimitable Michèle Lamy. “It’s difficult to [decide] what is mainstream or not…but being here feels real, and what they are trying to do is very important,” Lamy said of the site.
“There’s so much potential in vintage fashion,” said Linton. “It’s made better, there’s a story behind it, and there’s a history behind it. The way I merchandise the store is through storytelling—there’s a curve of Vivienne Westwood from Pirate to Seditionaries, for example—but it’s not that it has to be a linear progression. It’s about the energy of stuff.”
The stuff on display includes a 1984 John Galliano men’s kimono coat from his graduate Central Saint Martins collection, Les Incroyables (not for sale); a burlap Alexander McQueen look from F/W ’02; a 1986 Azzedine Alaïa leather zip dress; and a Katharine Hamnett allover marijuana-leaf-print bodysuit.
Glenn O’Brien lent his support by co-hosting the affair. “Everybody mixes vintage in,” he said, “I can’t tell you how long I’ve had this Kilgour, French, & Stanbury coat; it must be twenty years since I bought it at Barneys. Vintage is kind of where the next ideas come from. You can be a step ahead by wearing something that’s so out that it’s just about ready to come back.”
Byronesque.com//Offline will open to the public on December 12 and run through the 15th. Located at the James A. Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue at West 31st Street, the show will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fashion East, Lulu Kennedy’s London-based young designer initiative, announced its Fall ’14 lineup today, and the Topshop-sponsored platform is adding two new up-and-comers to the mix. Helen Lawrence (who was featured on Style.com for Spring ’14) and Louise Alsop will join Fashion East veteran Ashley Williams in presenting their collections this February. Lawrence (left), a graduate of Central Saint Martins’ MA program, is best known for her vibrant knitwear, and for the past few seasons, has been working with much-touted rising menswear designer Craig Green. Alsop, meanwhile, graduated from the University of Westminster in 2013, and boasts an intriguing dark, grungy, layered aesthetic. The pair of talents replaces Fashion East grads Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo, who completed their third and final season with the initiative in September.