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London's top fashion school shows off its students

Friday - 2/17/2012, 5:42pm  ET

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - With alumni like Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and the late Alexander McQueen, it's no surprise that the hottest ticket at London Fashion Week's opening sessions Friday was for the catwalk show by the imaginative students at Central Saint Martins.

Long one of the most famous arts and fashion schools in London, the show is always packed with buyers, journalists and talent scouts looking for the next big thing.

There were no disappointments Friday night as the show featured bold and brash dresses and ensembles, offering more fun and more spontaneity than many of the more polished shows that preceded it on the opening day lineup.

There were some signs of nerves and a few amateurish touches _ including a dress that draped far too low, causing the model to trip _ but this was more than made up for by the willingness to shake convention and try something new.

There were radical shapes, three dimensional dresses with protruding blocks, hats that obscured the face, fluffy outfits for men that made them look like cuddly teddy bears, and sexy dresses with cutouts and cellophane skirts.

There were yellow space age outfits with oversize cutouts that looked straight out of Star Trek, or Woody Allen's "Sleeper," and some dresses that looked a bit like elaborate lamp shades.

Some models wore black, kimono style dresses with wooden neck braces that made them look a bit like whiplash victims, others wore shimmering metallic evening dresses layered with odd, sculptural dresses.

Some wore smock dresses smeared with paint, while others wore strange headgear, including one that seemed to be based on the Olympic rings and another that spelled out G-O-D in gold letters.

Overall, it was a cacophony of styles presented by a variety of designers, most of them about to graduate and descend on the hotly competitive fashion field. Some of the designers seem destined for greatness; others are likely to be forgotten before next season.

The Central Saint Martins show capped a festive opening day that included shows by Bora Aksu, Felder Felder, PPQ and others, with Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and others to follow in the coming days.



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