Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Craig Lawrence: Innovation and Imagination

The Craig Lawrence talk at the V&A on Monday 29th April, hosted by Tamsin Blanchard, Style Director of the Telegraph Magazine, revealed an imaginative and innovative designer pushing the boundaries of knitting. His stunning creations have been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Bjork and Tilda Swinton and were the focus of a Fashion in Motion Event at the V&A in July 2012.

Photo from www.vam.ac.uk
Beginning with when he was taught to knit by his Grandmother, Craig told us that he has always been interested in making things and knitting became a way of creating fabrics. After A levels in Art, Photography and Textiles and a foundation course at London College of Fashion, Craig studied Knitwear and Fashion at Central St Martins. At CSM he was encouraged to be experimental and free in his creations. As well as working with Gareth Pugh during this time, Craig used all kinds of non-traditional materials such as cotton tape, barrier tape, bin bags and 'shiny things'! He describes his search for materials as always being on the hunt for one long string of something that can be knitted.

Dukes of Hazard Tape at Patternity Exhibition
Photo by Emma Vining
For Bright Young Things, Craig was given his own window at Selfridges in Oxford Street. His gold foil knitted dress is made up of a tiny 'boob tube' style garment in the centre of pulled loops of material. Craig uses his loop technique to create huge volume.

Photo from www.selfridges.com
The designing and making of a smoking jacket for SHOWstudio.com was captured on camera, from knitting the individual pieces, designing on the stand through to the finished garment being modelled. The smoking jacket is made up of machine knitted circles. The video can be found on the SHOWstudio website.

Photo from show studio.com
Discussing his design process, Craig says that although he works with experimental fabrics and samples, a wearable garment is always at the back of his mind. He begins with picking his yarns, then moves on to the experimental knitting. This is followed by working on the stand and developing a silhouette, before creating final pieces. His garments are on sale at Dover Street Market in several major cities.

Fashion in Motion at the V&A in July 2012, was an opportunity for Craig to look back at his collections and see his favourite pieces in action. The Behind the Scenes Video and the Fashion in Motion video shown at the talk can be viewed on the V&A Chanel.

Photo from www.vam.ac.uk
So, what next for this creative and innovative designer? Having taken some time out in order to restructure his business, Craig is currently Artist in Residence at Somerset House in London and says he is enjoying every moment being located in the vaults under Waterloo Bridge.

He also is thinking of 'fluffy, metallicy' socks!

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