Central Saint Martins has always been known for their experimentation when it comes to the arts, invariably looking to push the boundaries of what is considered art or fashion by prompting other creatives to question their own thought processes or beliefs along the way. So, it's not a surprise they've decided to step things up a notch for this season, presenting a digital showcase (that's right, just like their old exhibition spaces, but yes, digital).
Since the current national restrictions came into place last Spring, banning people from socialising or taking part in any indoor events, fashion has, for want of a term, dramatically changed. Credit where credit is due, minimal fuss was made as the world watched the fashion film format became the new runway, with editors and guests, instead of gathering around a catwalk, tuning in live from their laptops in the comfort of their own home. Designers like Marine Serre have also played on this, what seems to be, post-COVID concept, thinking up with alternate universes for their collections to live in and for viewers to explore - taking the concept of a fashion film and making it a fully explorative venture for everyone to take part in.
Accompanied by a 10-minute film shot by Liam Leslie - the digital showcase certainly beats your standard lookbook images accompanied by a typical collection video. Instead, they've recreated the iconic one Granary Square campus online, with signs taking you into each of the four different sections. Upon clicking the invite 25 March 14.00 GMT, you will arrive at one Granary Square, with a welcome text spoken by none other than Michéle Lamy; after heading towards the doors lit up at the bottom of the building, you'll arrive at the exhibition hall, which is where Leslie's SHOWFILM of the MA collections will be premiering. From the hall space, you reach the curved gallery, which will feature videos, posters and photography that uncover the process behind the making of the MA Fashion A/W 21 collections. Afterwards, you reach a door that takes you to the designer rooms where each collection is on show individually, explorable by name, and each designer's poster.
There's always been an air of mystery surrounding Central Saint Martins with very few people allowed access into the building apart from the students and staff themselves. Like a factory, the institution has churned out work (and students) year after year with only a select few allowed in as part of the creative process, everyone else? An outsider. Well, until now that is. In January 2017 At the beginning of the academic year, Central Saint Martins contacted photographer Anna Fox to shed light on the artistic process and final year collections at the university. Over a two month period, Fox dedicated her life (and her camera) to the final years making their collections, staying with them every tear (and breakdown) of the way. Her findings were collated into a book called Blink, which will be exclusively sold on Machine-A's website, you can buy it here.
A once mythical place, only seen by those in it, has started to slowly open up its doors for the rest of the world to take a peek, from Fox's Blink to the MA A/W 21 digital show. So, if you haven't entered Central Saint Martins' virtual lockdown universe, we strongly recommend you do; after all, it is only a click away.