Fashion Central Saint Martins
Years in the making, Fashion Central Saint Martins documents and celebrates the College's contribution to the world of fashion
Written by Hywel Davies, Director of the Fashion programme, and Cally Blackman, lecturer on BA Fashion Communication: Fashion History & Theory, the book chronicles the history of fashion and Central Saint Martins. Gathering together hundreds of never-seen-before photographs of student collections, catwalks and sketches, the book gives a glimpse of the early work of many alumni from Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney to Craig Green, Grace Wales Bonner and Mollly Goddard.
We asked Hywel Davies and Cally Blackman to select some favourite imagery from each era detailed in the book.
This spread shows Muriel Pemberton teaching a fashion drawing class. She was pivotal in creating the blueprint for fashion courses in higher education from the 1930s onwards. A gifted artist and inspirational teacher, her belief that fashion students, the designers of the future, should be trained in all aspects of aesthetics, historical research and creativity and not just in technical skills was groundbreaking.
The 1970s was a decade when design students were expressing great individuality: craft skills such as appliqué and embroidery were applied to garments, colourful graphic prints, knits and weaves were combined with nostalgia for the glamour of the 1930s and 40s. Style was non-conformist, a transitional period between the liberation of the 1960s and the self-consciousness of the 1980s.
One of the most important aspects of being a fashion student at St Martins is the friendships that are forged, some of them evolving into lasting partnerships in the industry. This spread reflects that and shows some of the legendary parties that have taken place over the years.
Riccardo Tisci's sketch books demonstrate, 60 years on, the lasting influence of Pemberton's approach to teaching fashion at St Martins in his eclectic sources of inspiration and wide-ranging research that inform his designs.
Some worried that the move from Soho to King's Cross might affect the school but we soon realised that the soul of St Martins remained the same – it was just the location that changed. Nevertheless, the epic Farewell to CXR Party was a moving and nostalgic celebration of a much-loved building located at the epi-centre of a bohemian and liberally-minded area of London.
The White Show held every year on the last Thursday of term before Christmas gives first year fashion students the freedom to create an outfit of any description – as long as it is white. It's a fabulous, atmospheric event with models (many of them students and the odd member of staff) parading around the gallery above the central atrium of the College. Conceived and organised by BA Fashion Communication students the tension and excitement are palpable and the scene is always set for a magical show.