Craig Lawrence: Fashion in Motion at the V&A
Yesterday afternoon we went to the V&A to see womenswear designer Craig Lawrence’s show for Fashion in Motion. Set in the illustrious Raphael gallery, where the Queen’s own Raphael Cartoons (more about that here) are hung, fashion comes into its own. A platform where designers can show off a full range of their work, away from the stress and business of Fashion Week and the cycle of designing collections for new seasons, Fashion in Motion is a chance to reflect upon the designer’s work and open it up to a wider audience.
The programme has been running at the Victoria and Albert museum since 1999 when it was borne of the idea that fashion can’t live up to its full potential in static museum exhibitions. So, by putting on a live show, the garments can be seen in the way they were intended to be seen: in all their glory. Another key part of the event is that it is tailored for an audience who are not part of “the fashion pack” but the general public who just want to see and appreciate fashion first-hand. As a free-ticketed event it opens fashion up to a wider audience who wouldn’t necessarily be able to experience such an event elsewhere.
We were there to see designer Craig Lawrence’s beautiful knitwear, much of which is made from Kyototex (see here), a metallic Japanese yarn. I was very happy to see this shown off in the beautiful setting to an especially appreciative crowd of the general, fashion-loving public.
The gallery itself is awe-inspiring and, back-dropped by a huge screen with gold foils printed on to it, the lights dimmed, music started to thud and Craig’s garments began to appear one by one. The models looked like powerful Amazonian warriors; the big shapes clung to and further sculpted their impressive bodies. The intricate woven textures became magnified and the audience were able to more fully appreciate their beauty.
Hailing from Ipswich, Craig’s transition from a student at Central Saint Martins, working with the likes of Gareth Pugh whilst there, to a designer in his own right, is fascinating to hear about. Indeed, it was clear to see that methodical development of ideas and influences in some of his stand-out garments from various past collections. Before now, he had received support from the British Fashion Council’s New Gen programme to help create some of his collections; this is his first show without any backing or help.
After the show we had the chance to interview Craig Lawrence himself that you can read here. Still a young designer who has already accomplished so much, his latest collection took inspiration from the familiar and achingly retro brown patterned seats of a budget coach trip he took, considering them in contrast to the glamour of 1950s aeroplane journeys. We were eager to discuss with him how he goes about designing – his creative process included – and what he thinks about various changes within the fashion industry.
Photos: Martin Evans