At 24, Yashana Malhotra is Central Saint Martins’ Pompadour-in-Chief. Cheeks delicately rouged, the empress of BA Womenswear flits from place to place with a wave of brightly-coloured tulle following in her wake. Known for her flowing, self-designed day dresses, Malhotra is instantly recognisable within college grounds; as close to an institution within the community as anything.
Titled An Illusion of Bliss, the designer’s final collection takes her everyday dresses and elevates them to Malhotra couture. Vast skirts of metallic silver-and-opalescent fabrics spill from cinched waists; one dress bears an oversized pussy bow at the rear, while another silken counterpart is even larger. This iteration is modular, made up of separate skirts of increasing volume; kept in shape by a translucent floral body piece and a final skirt of printed crepe de chine. However, she is not merely restricted to this one silhouette: there are fitted skirts that slink down to pool around the feet, with jackets and bodiless sleeves smocked so intensely they resemble French accordions. ‘Each of these is over 25 metres of fabric,’ Malhotra says, referring to a pair of oversized green sleeves held together with a web of fuchsia stitching. Every look is adorned with mirrors, from wood-mounted side reflectors to a swirling Nautilus headdress and flowing mirrored shoes. When worn, light bounces back into the eyes of the viewer; Malhotra-couture promises to make the wearer as unmissable as the designer herself.