Norwegian designer Fredrik Tjærandsen stole the show when he presented his Central Saint Martins BA show for the press on Thursday night (May 29, 2019) in Granary Square campus in London.
Born in Bodø, Tjærandsen was one of 43 students who showed, but he’s received a lion’s share of the press thanks to his other-worldly balloon-inspired designs. Models entered the runway with the multi-colored, fully inflated rubber inflatables, including some who were fully encased in the balloons. Halfway through their walk, they pulled on a mechanism that deflated and converted the balloon into a garment.
In addition to wowing attendees, Tjærandsen, who’s worked at
Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Craig Green and J.W.Anderson, was also awarded L’Oréal’s Professionnel Young Talent Award, the school’s most prestigious award.
Tjærandsen describes the balloons as symbolic of a memory. In an interview with Vogue, he explained, “The inflated bubbles are about being able to wear an unclear memory. When the bubble emerges onto the catwalk, it’s the dream. The deflation of the bubble visualizes the moment when we realize we have a consciousness.”
In an interview with Love, Tjærandsen described the full-body bubble as shaped like a torus, a geometric term describing a surface of evolution akin to an inner tube. Tjærandsen explained, “The inner part of the torus is where the garment is constructed and inverts out to the bubble. The rubber I use is sourced from a company that has its rubber production in Sri Lanka, where they support and buy their rubber from local rubber growers.
“I have constructed these pieces with an air pressure system that lets the wearer control the air-flow. Whenever the wearer wants to deflate it, they open a latch inside to release the inverted bubble part and then that dives out of the deflating bubble.”
More than just a showcase for a giant, body encasing bubble, it was important for Tjærandsen that the end garment be functional. He added, “It was very important for me that everything would be connected to the garment. The garment within, and the bubble, is all in one piece, and I designed it to have as few seams as possible. When the wearer dives out of the dress, the rubber band constructed at the hem of the bubble traps the air in the deflated bubble, making it a dress. When the dress deflates it will always drape differently, depending on what happens in this moment.”
While the collection was presented without a hitch, the effort was preceded by a lot of trial and error, including exploding balloons.
As to who inspired the collection, Tjærandsen referenced visual artist Roni Horn, contemporary artist Paul McCarthy and photographer Andres Serrano.
Watch the entire CSM BA presentation below along with highlights from