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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Craig Lawrence

A look at Craig Lawrence's visionary knitwear at his presentation in the Portico Rooms at Somerset House, with illustrations by Stéphanie Thieullant

Written by Matt Bramford

If you’ve seen Amelia’s post about Charlie le Mindu’s show yesterday, about it you’ll already know what you’re in for. But allow me to indulge myself because we can’t possibly harp on enough about this show…

When I was a lad, salve Sundays were reserved for attending church (occasionally), watching The Waltons and generally relaxing or playing with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. My, how things have changed. My most recent Sunday – yesterday – was spent gawking at vaginas. Bit of a difference, eh?

I absolutely love Charlie le Mindu, that’s no secret and I recently had the chance to have a chat with him. He’s a welcome addition to the London Fashion Week line-up in that he has absolutely no shame and heaps of creative and daring talent.

Last season’s show was a spectacle enough, and my imagination had run wild with what he might show this season (little did I know he’d show literally EVERYTHING this bloody season).

As the show started and the first model appeared to excited whoops, I thought – hmmm, I like it, it is fun; love that candy-floss pink porno wig, love the lamp on her head, that human hair mankini she’s just about wearing is daring, could have done with a bit of work around the bikini line though, love. But overall, I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed. Well, I need not have been.

When the first absolutely starkers model appeared, wearing only a huge brimmed hat and carrying a fabulous purse in the crook of her arm, I actually caught myself mouthing OH MY GOD. To myself. Exaggeratedly. I was, yet again, rendered speechless. He’d done it – he’d dared to do what few others would; he’d shocked us in a ‘OMG-she-has-no-hair-down-there’ kind of way. I haven’t seen one of them for years and after yesterdays show, I’d like never to see one again, please. That’s enough for me. You can keep ‘em, ta very much.

What I most adore about Mr le Mindu is that his shows aren’t really about fashion. They’re about style. Style, not in the sense of what’s on trend this season blah blah blah, but about taking an idea and really making it exciting.

After last season’s sexed up religious collection, it seems this season was all about porn stars – an homage, in fact, to the ladies of the adult movie industry of Los Angeles. Hence tacky candy-floss wigs, crude bob cuts, sassy curls that covered bare chests (what is it with me and nudity this fashion week? Totally wasted on me), cartoon-like tailoring (in a good way) and the show piece which was a huge pink perspex Hollywood sign hat. As you do.

Even though I seem to be doing it a lot this season, it’s not fair just to go on about the quantity of arse and tit, because I actually think that Charlie’s more modest creations (modest in the sense that they cover said arse and tit, not modest in a conservative way) are exemplary. The flamingo halter-neck number with a huge bum and the floor-length numbers that cacoon models from head to toe are nothing short of genius. They’re totally unique on an somewhat perpetual catwalk line-up.

Oh, who am I kidding. This is sex, sex, sex at it’s best. Oh, what fun! I bloody loved it and I am counting the days until Charlie’s A/W 2011 show already. Can I suggest, though, that you cover up the see you next Tuesdays next time, purlease? Maybe with the odd human-hair merkin? Oh, the irony…

Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

I love the Portico Rooms at Somerset House. Up an elaborate sweeping staircase, website here lies a relatively small room in which I’ve seen some of my favourite presentations: Lou Dalton’s salon show a year ago, more about both this and last season’s Orla Kiely presentations, story and now Craig Lawrence’s presentation this weekend.

Presentations are my preferred preference to catwalk shows. You don’t have to fight for a seat, you can see the clothing and craftsmanship in close-up (particularly applicable with Craig’s astonishing knitwear) and, most importantly, they always have cakes.

This was no exception – just look at this table packed with the stuff. Delicious! Shame I decided on a cream-filled whoopie rather than something edible in front of fashion folk like a delicious slice of tiffin. Cue cream-covered chops, sloppy eating and and a general unfashionable mess. Ah, well.

Craig’s presentation was simple but oh so elegant. Three models perched around sculptural furniture wearing his latest offerings. I wonder how the pay-scale for models differs between catwalks and presentations? Surely sashaying to the end of a runway, striking a pose and then walking back is far easier than having people with zoom lenses oggle your pores and walk in circles around you? It’s a wonder they don’t fall over. They are good at looking into your camera though. Look at this one! She wurrrrks it. Give her a pay rise!

Craig Lawrence has quickly established himself as a man of exquisite craftsmanship, skill and style. I simply adore these floor length knitted numbers. Seeing them up close, you really develop an appreciation for the quality. I imagine that the wool he uses is of a high calibre, but staring closely at his pieces is quite something – hypnotic weaves create beautiful, rich textures.


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

The colours were industrial and pewter was the mainstay, with the occasion flourish of varying greens and white. This all white number rustled as the model moved around the room, and it’s only when you see garments like this move that you realise their full potential. She does look a bit like she’s been through a paper shredder, though. God I hope she hadn’t.

Also on display was a strikingly beautiful and somewhat haunting film, which was actually all I thought I was going to see – the static models were a massive bonus. The black and white film was shot by Ben Toms and styled by Dazed & Confused’s Katie Shillingford. Bloody hard to photograph.

At first glance, it appeared to be a collection of photographs – a model stands stock still in a variety of poses on rocks and in the sea. It’s only when you watch for a little while you realise it is actually a film – you notice the hair flickering slightly from the wind, or the almost still waves of the ocean moving back and forth. It really brought the collection to life. Plus it was edited beautifully – by our own Sally Mumby Croft, no less!

You can see the film (and I suggest you do) here.

All photography by Matt Bramford

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