GRADUATION was last Wednesday, July 21. Just a few months
ago it seemed so far way.
It was a very intense year at Central Saint
Martins. You never seem to have time to do anything other
than study and it's an endurance trip to complete the course, but
when you finally finish it, you can hardly believe you made it.
I was asked in my self-assessment form what
would I change if I had the opportunity to do the final year all
over again. There are quite a few things actually.
First and most important of all, and it
is my advice for future CSM students:
start looking for sponsorship on the first year. The course was
extremelly expensive, you should be prepared to spend three to four
times more than your initial budget, as things go wrong and you
never count small apparently non-important expenses.
Secondly, as a foreign student, I found
it difficult to juggle out grade systems, college bureaucracy, the
whole English academic system, which was totally different [from
what I knew]. I was constantly wasting time trying to find out how
things worked, and doesn't matter how many questions you ask, you
can't have the information if you don't know exactly what to ask.
I should have spent time before the course researching this.
Thirdly, it would have been great to have
a team of people working with me, as many students organized beforehand.
Technicians, pattern-cutters, sample machinists, photographers,
models, helpers, etc.and back-ups for each one of them. I
tried to do too much by myself and it doesn't work like that.
Lastly, I should have followed my instincts
regarding my collection. I think the hardest thing of all was being
constantly bombarded with everybody's opinion. At the end I felt
overwhelmed by it and followed the tutors advice on changing
my collection's colour (the toiles were white and they loved them
like that). I kept the red dress, which was the most important for
me and the basis of my collection,but then it was the tutors
favourite one when the collection was ready. If you have an idea,
stick with it: nobody can read into your mind and see what you see.
I felt sorry I gambled my autumn colour
scheme, which was my signature, in exchange for a few more points
in my marks; at the end I felt I lost more than I gained. But I
In general, the experience was invaluable.
There is no chalenge greater than making your own collection, presenting
it and going through all the learning, technicalities and mistakes
necessary to create fashion. I have learnt more in the past year
than i have in all of the previous three years put together. I feel
really light and accomplished now, and I am looking for the next
As my mother arrived from Brazil to visit
me post-stress and to see my graduation she exclaimed,
But you look fine! I thought I was going to find you stressed
out and looking shabby! Hmm, thanks Mom.
Alice Coral is a fashion designer and a new
graduate of Central St Martins.
Footnote: I dedicate this first collection to my mother, who
is a fashion icon by her own rights.AC
Photographed by Anthony Fuller, Image Takers
Studio: Image Takers, 290 Sangley Road, London, SE6
2JT, England (www.image-takers.com)
Hair and make-up by YoYo Tayler (hometown.aol.co.uk/yo44yo44tayler/)
Modelled by Emma-Kate Taylor
Dangerous StructureKeep out, by Alice Coral. The
corseted dresses were created inspired by film icons, cartoons,
Japonism and organic curves. The corsets create the illusion of
a smaller waist. This photo shoot was a studio shoot to create Corals
Alice springs toward graduation
(February 19, 2004)
From law to fashion: a conversation
with Alice Coral (March 19, 2004)
If at first you dont succeed
(April 17, 2004)
Todays the day (May