Best of the Next
A sure barometer of which designers will be the superstars of tomorrow, the Central St Martins MA show is eternally one to keep a very close eye on indeed. Amid the vivid womenswear work of Michael Halpen and Amelie Beluze, it felt like the menswear collections that parparticularly impressed, as Harry Evans and John Skelton jointly took home the prestigious L’Oreal prize – firmly entrenching themselves in the industry’s imagination. You can guarantee their phones will be blowing up today.
As a proponent of the radical new type of menswear that has something in common with the “anything-but-a-three-piece-suit” J W Anderson school of thought, Evans served up leggings (sometimes with holes in them) or cropped trousers that kicked out at the hem and crumpled at the knee. Elsewhere, wide sleeved sweaters were unapologetically androgynous and a host of other feminine touchpoints like décolletage exposing, plunging v necks turned up – best of all, though, was the gathered waist tunic which felt simultaneously indebted to history and fearlessly futuristic in its clinically well cut execution.
John Skelton’s designs were on slightly more familiar ground; he took his cues from the elegantly tailored outerwear of yesteryear before distorting those references into bedraggled, draped ensembles. Sometimes a patchwork coat paired with a knee length white dress and wide ragged hem trousers felt almost biblical – the costume of some vagabond prophet – and vast oatmeal coats in coarse, tactile fabrics seemed like precision tailored sacking (in the best way possible). The colour palette was mainly brown and beige but it was all so distressed, marbled and inventively presented that those colours occasionally conservative and geriatric associations seemed entirely irrelevant. Watch this space: Skelton and Evans are only two of a profoundly talented class of 17.