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Craig Lawrence Womenswear S/S11

The East London designer was inspired by mermaids for his Spring Summer collection of elongated and delicate knit dresses

With autumn sun streaming into the Portico Rooms of Somerset House, knitwear master Craig Lawrence staged a beautifully serene presentation that marked an increasingly sophisticated turning point for this East London designer whose earlier work thrived off a raw, kinetic energy. For S/S 11 he displayed 15 looks that emanated pure molten glamour. Keeping the elongated silhouette from last season, he showed minidresses and eveningwear done in the most delicate filigree knits that caught the light seductively, shimmering and luminescent. It’s no wonder that Lawrence cited the dangerous allure of mermaids as the inspiration for the collection; another clue was provided by the film shot by Ben Toms and styled by Dazed’s Senior Fashion Editor Katie Shillingford in the desolate cliffs of Eastbourne. After dressing luminaries like Tilda Swinton, Lady Gaga and most recently, Bjork, it was no big leap imagining a fashion forward A-list star wearing one of these weirdly glamorous creations down the red carpet come Oscar night.

Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for the collection?

Craig Lawrence: The inspiration was siren mermaids. It was a development from last season in that I still wanted to work with the long, slinky silhouettes. This two-tone green is the extension of the siren mermaid – its almost like fish scales, when they move, it is so iridescent. I really wanted to sexualize that on a woman.

DD: You’ve knitted with bin bag, ribbon, metal in the past – what did you experiment with this season?

Craig Lawrence: This cotton tape. I got that from my haberdashery shop that you normally use to weave into trousers for the hems. It wasn’t anywhere as difficult as what I have to knit in the past!

DD: How amazing was it to see Bjork wearing your dress?

Craig Lawrence: That was one of my milestones. When I was doing my Degree collection, she was the person I imagined wearing it.

DD: Tell us about the film you did with Ben Toms and Katie Shillingford?

Craig Lawrence: That was done in Eastbourne with beautiful chalk white cliffs. We spent the day there with Katie and Ben. It was another take on my seaside obsession.

DD: What emotion would you say runs through this collection?

Craig Lawrence: Sultry.