Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Presentation Review: Craig Lawrence

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Meagan Morrison

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Meagan Morrison

I’m quite partial to a knitted design – one of my favourite designers is Mark Fast, order whose spun creations I yearn for, and I loved the A/W 2010 work of graduate student Phoebe Thirlwall. I’m also very fond of Craig Lawrence, whose work I have followed and celebrated, and so I was eagerly anticipating his intimate salon show at The Portico Rooms at Somerset House, the perfect surrounding for the debut of his S/S 2012 collection. An excitement it appeared that was shared by everyone else attending London Fashion Week… The queue for the presentation wound round the marble staircase of Somerset House, and snaked along the grand hall – a bit of a change from what Matt Bramford had seen the previous year.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 – All photography courtesy of Ella Dror PR

Craig Lawrence is a London Fashion Week must-see. For six seasons, before he graduated from Central Saint Martins and set up his own label, Craig produced knitwear for the outlandish designer Gareth Pugh. He showed his debut collection for A/W 2009, which won him The British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN sponsorship. The Council’s faith and support continues, as this season sees Craig celebrating his sixth season under the sponsorship. As I was finally ushered into the room and asked to find myself a square inch of space, I spotted blogger Susie Bubble on the front row. I realised what a hot ticket this show was, and thought that maybe next year’s space should be rethought, regardless of the atmospheric surroundings. By the time the doors were closed, every seat in the room had been taken, but in this close setting, I couldn’t have asked for a better view of the clothes.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 - All photography courtesy of Ella Dror PR

Craig’s primary inspiration for the collection was the seaside photo sets of British documentary photographer Martin Parr. Parr is known for projects that explore modern life in England, and for his sense of humour that runs through his photos. He claims that the seaside is one of the most fascinating places for people watching, where we lose our inhibitions and where true personalities are unveiled. As the first looks of Craig’s collection were presented, the influence of the British seaside towns was clear, but rather from the depths of the sea, instead of the beach and its holiday makers. The models were enchanting sea creatures. Adorned in the metallic threads of a fisherman’s net or wrapped seaweed, in the colours of the ocean and washed up treasures and sun baked sand, with headpieces like sea coral reefs. Craig presented a rich and textured collection of knitwear in a palette of pastel and muted hues, run with metallic details.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012

Last season’s moody palette of dark metallic blues, purples and black was replaced with a lighter, gentler combination of creams, pale mint greens and pinks. As the models swayed down the short catwalk they glistened with every step. Craig Lawrence collaborated with Swarovski Elements for this collection which gave a sparkle of luxury to his intricately knitted designs. Swarovski Pale Crystal yarns and fibres had been woven into individual pieces, which caught the bright lights of The Portico Rooms as the models revolved to face each wall of the room. The Swarovski crystals were also sewn in to other designs as pure embellishment.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Megan Thomas

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Megan Thomas

It was apparently the idea of the Essex phenomenon ‘vajazzling’ that inspired Lawrence’s use of Swarovski crystal fibres for this season, but with this influence aside, it was a sophisticated and refined concept that pushed the collection to another level. Craig’s material of choice, unique Kyototex metallic yarns, keeping to the sea-theme in cream and shell colours, were woven into the designs, adding to the luxuriance and feminine appeal of each look.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 - All photography courtesy of Ella Dror PR

Layering was an important detail across the whole collection. The dresses and skirts were flowing, with knitted bralets, metallic leggings and tights worn underneath. There was also a mix of body-con wrap pieces, worn over designs such as a flowing lace-hole knitted maxi skirt, or tank top dress, and super wearable raglan-sleeved tops with elasticated vests which would add a perfect metallic shimmer for day or night. The Swarovski crystal embellishments added texture, and luxuriance. The draped designs left the body effortlessly, as the narrator explained how the pieces were knitted without elastic to create a looser, relaxed fit.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 - All photography courtesy of Ella Dror PR

One of the best things about a salon show is the chance to gain a greater understanding of the make up of the collection. For each of the 18 looks, a very well spoken narrator took the audience through the individual components, and explained the techniques undertaken. This replaced the usual upbeat modern song, and was a welcome point of difference. Through this, the salon show to me felt like a proper couture show, harking back to old fashion houses and buying appointments. There was a real sense of charm and nostalgia to this which I know is also an influence that Craig cites from his childhood in the countryside town of Ipswich.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012

It was great – the audience was able to learn so much from the commentary. The narrator gave away details of craftsmanship that made you study Craig’s work as it came out one by one. We learnt that many of the pieces were created from a single thread to maintain the weightlessness. Indeed some of the designs looked like finely spun gold fisherman’s nets, and the models were beautiful sea creatures that had been caught in the webbing. The narration really helped to emphasise the level of work that had gone into creating this collection.

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Craig Lawrence S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

This was not the only aspect of the salon show that ensured it achieved a polished finish – the show was also styled by Dazed and Confused’s fashion editor Kate Shillingford, who has been a strong support of Craig’s career from the start, and oversees the creative direction of the label. Her expertise was really evident – no hanging yarn was out of place, the handmade shoes from Natacha Marro shoes fitted with the otherworldly air, and the delicate woven headpieces made by Steven Doherty were a superior finish acting as sparkling coral reefs, encased around the models heads.

I was mesmerized by Craig Lawrence’s embellished and shimmering sea-bed inspired offering. The pastel tones, metallic yarns and crystal details were subtle, serene and luxuriant. It was a fantastic collection that fully demonstrated his ability for producing knitwear that is challenging yet wearable, and significantly as a young designer, constantly pushing forward.

Categories ,british fashion council, ,Craig Lawrence, ,Crystals, ,Ella Dror PR, ,fashion, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Katie Shillingford, ,knitting, ,knitwear, ,lfw, ,Mark Fast, ,Martin Parr, ,Matt Bramford, ,Meagan Morrison, ,Megan Thomas, ,Metallic, ,Miranda Williams, ,Newgen, ,Phoebe Thirlwall, ,Presentation, ,S/S 2012, ,Salon Show, ,Somerset House, ,Swarovski, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Craig Lawrence

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

Categories ,Ben Toms, ,Craig Lawrence, ,Dazed & Confused, ,Katie Shillingford, ,knitwear, ,London Fashion Week, ,Portico Rooms, ,S/S 2011, ,Sally Mumby-Croft, ,Somerset House, ,Stéphanie Thieullent

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Amelia’s Magazine | Alex Box: Ugly Beautiful

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© Photography Rankin, Make Up Alex Box

Make-up is all too often considered to be merely a technique used to enhance natural attributes: from the day to day beauty-conscious girl on the street, or for flawless skin under stage spot lights. It is all about the pretty.


© Photography Rankin, Make Up Alex Box

Not, however, for Alex Box, make-up and artist extraordinaire currently exhibiting a collaboration of images created with the photographer Rankin at the Annroy Gallery in Kentish Town. Testing and subverting the traditional conception of beauty and make-up, Box’s work is known for leading the pack in experimental beauty. Having played with performance and sculpture at Chelsea, and worked at i.D, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine and V, her CV reads like a fashion leader to watch (with self-pronounced comparisons to Gareth Pugh). Launching a book (The Make-Up Artist) to coincide with the collection, Box’s star is most certainly on the rise.


© Photography Rankin, Make Up Alex Box

The photography displayed in the show capture strange, haunted but eerily beautiful images of women. Through featuring alien-esque, exotic creatures, the collection interrogates our ideas of “normal” and “pretty”.

Make-up focuses heavily on full-painted faces, big bad sky scraping lashes and outlined lips. With black and white geishas sitting alongside faces spray-painted kaleidoscopic colours and golden sprayed hues, Box’s work questions what is beautiful.

The works ask what is traditionally accepted as pretty, whilst showing harrowing images of those mortals who are over-sunned, under-fed and suffering from a range of general diseases. These photographs question man’s mortality through the skeleton theme and joker lips evocative of Heath Ledger’s eponymous role.

This is a serious show; you can see the influence of her young Goth days in the mask-like quality of the make-up; that idea of putting on a face that represents an entire frame of mind or mood.

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© Photography Rankin, Make Up Alex Box

To counteract the seriousness, the show includes positive images of weird and wonderfully strange beauty; celebrating the foreign, the unique and the variety of types of beautiful. Aside from the obvious geisha references and plays on colour, there were alien creatures straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory or a Tim Burton film.

With paisley printed blue and pink cheeks extending around the eyes, and delicate golden dotted freckles painted underneath batting lashes, these girls were pretty like something out of Japanese anime. One face was disco-punk-neon-rave, with a crazy combo of bright and vivid shades splashed like a spirograph across the face.

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© Photography Rankin, Make Up Alex Box

Box stated in an interview with Katie Shillingford that the accompanying exhibition book is a diary of beauty, reflecting different moods and day to day inspirations; the contrasting images of bright young things bordering on the cute with darker, sombre creatures perfectly captures the idea of a personal storyboard.

Box’s take on make-up and beauty is thoroughly refreshing and ultimately extremely important at the moment. Refusing to fit into the mould of a typical make-up artist, she combines her own art background with her current field of work, painting faces instead of improving them through ‘tricks’ of make-up. In a world dominated by debates surrounding beauty, the fashion industry, model sizes, skin bleaching, photo editing and advertising ploys, Box’s work refuses to pinpoint what beauty is, but instead highlights the many forms it may take.

The Exhibition finishes on the 22 November and is located at the following address:

Annroy Gallery
110-114 Grafton Street
Kentish Town,
London, NW5 4BA
United Kingdom

The book is available from Turnaround and at all good book stores

Categories ,Alex Box, ,Annroy Gallery, ,Another Magazine, ,Dazed and Confused, ,Gareth Pugh, ,goth, ,ID, ,Katie Shillingford, ,Make-up, ,Pat McGrath, ,Rankin

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