February 18, 2012 / 2:57 PM / 7 years ago

Britain's star factory shines at London Fashion Week

LONDON (Reuters) - For most design students just getting in to see a show at London Fashion Week is an achievement, but one group from the British school with a reputation for turning out star designers has already seen their own creations head down the catwalk.

A model has her hair styled, her makeup applied and her toenails painted backstage before the presentation of the Felder Felder Autumn/Winter 2012 collection during London Fashion Week February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

London’s Central Saint Martin’s — whose list of graduates includes Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane — helped kick off London’s autumn/winter 2012 season with a show from the fashion designers of the future.

Packed with journalists, talent scouts, fans and former students, the Saint Martin’s catwalk showcased the work of some 20 students late Friday.

Highlights included Luke Brooks — the joint recipient of a L’Oreal Professionnel Creative Award — who sent an imaginative reconstructed collection of knitwear sashaying down the runway.

Brooks also had models in oversized and heavily decorated platform shoes stalk past the admiring crowd, wearing frayed headdresses and tops splashed with brightly colored paints.

“When I’m making things there’s a no-thought element where it’s very child-like and then I’ll come out of that...trying to work out what it all is,” Brooks told Reuters backstage.

Saint Martin’s graduate Gareth Pugh, known for his sculptural fashion, watched intently from the front row, sizing up some of the new design talent.

Yong Kyun Shin’s coiled metal springs held up ruffs of puffy black fabric on her designs, while fellow student designer Yulia Kondranina delivered a collection of fringe dresses which swished and twisted.

“I looked at sculptures for freedom and flow and shape and tried to pump that into my garments,” Kondranina said.

Other students on show included Hellen Van Rees who used three dimensional blocks to give her dresses a funky texture and Malene List Thomsen who articulated her garments with sealant rings for a spacey effect.

Unlike the top designers on show at London Fashion Week such as Vivienne Westwood, the students don’t have teams of assistants, seamstresses and tailors to help put together the clothes for their shows, so their few catwalk creations can take weeks of solitary work.

“I was working alone, with no one helping me...every day since about October,” Brooks said.

Reporting By Ethan Bilby, editing by Paul Casciato

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