Could there be any reference more cliched for a spring collection than the British sea-side? We're talking M&S-advertisement levels of mundane. But when you'r Craig Lawrence - London's premier purveyor of ladder-raddled, shock-frocks - the exotic world of the everyday holds quite some appeal. It would be far more 'normal' to see a Lawrence collection based around vivisection than Morecambe Bay.
It wasn't Morecambe however, but the work of Martin Parr that inspired Lawrence this season, with all its jovial undertones of British seaside postcards and childhood memories. He was also thinking about building a wardrobe for his woman. Those are basic inspirations and basic aims, hence the fact that Lawrence's collection was quite so extraordinary is down to sheer talent. He whipped up a seaside world, models peeking out from headpieces like coral reefs clad in rose-gold and sickly-sweet, sun-bleached pastel knits alternately clinging to and dropping away from the body. Those layers were easily deconstructed: a box-pleated, lace-knit skirt was layered over internally laddered leggings, twisted bra and elasticated vest, for example, or an eminently wearable raglan-sleeved sweater slung over leggings embellished with Swarovski-crystal like crushed shells. There was pretty much something for everyone there, even chunkily-knitted socks flecked with lurex to fight off the chill of a traditional British summertime.
Lawrence's knits this time were airy and aerated - a few, in shreds of faux-suede, looked as if they were crocheted together on broomsticks, while the rose-gold skirts seemed gossamer-fine. A voice-over informed us that many were created from a single thread to keep that sense of weightlessness - they resembled a cross between a lobster-pot, a fisherman's net and a gold doily. In the best possible way.
Lawrence also experimented with humble cotton, whipping it into corrugated bands that twisted around the body in recollection of forties swimsuits, or those voluminous openwork skirts. They had a mood of Claire McCardell, the American Queen of Clean. She's the last thing you'd expect to throw out at one of young London's edgy finest - but the whole idea of this Lawrence show was to expect the unexpected.