The designer talks Clash through her solo debut.

Following a stint as a Fashion Scout One to Watch and two seasons under Fashion East, this week Helen Lawrence stepped out on her own, making her debut solo appointment with London Fashion Week.

An MA graduate from Central Saint Martins, the knitwear designer returned to her BA campus of Chelsea College of Art and Design for a sunlit, mid-morning display that exhibited the kind of chilled vibes traditionally reserved for Sunday brunch (a great thing).

Upon a foam carpet that mirrored details from her AW14 collection, Lawrence showcased eight looks of intelligent knitwear that saw her experiment with new techniques and ultimatelypresent a new silhouette.

Clash caught up with Helen post-show to talk it through.


This was the first season properly on own; what were you most apprehensive about ahead of the presentation?
I think it's always a little nerve wracking showing alone for the first time, but I was excited to be back at Chelsea where I did my BA. 

What was the biggest difference you noticed between the catwalk show platform and doing a presentation?
It was great to be able to talk to the audience and get instant feedback. 

The collection was inspired by Phyllida Barlow's work. How did you go about translating sculpture into knits? 
I wanted the garments to have a wrapping element and be quite abstract. We started mixing contrasting yarn types so the knits would create this effect without adding extra fabrics for binding. We used lambswool and elastic yarns to create the bobbling effect.  

Madeleine Østlie cast the models How did the process go down?
It was great to work with Madeleine. We decided to street cast, and wanted to work with models that had an interesting look. I think the outcome was perfect; the guys looked really good!

You collaborated with Kult Domini on the footwear, how did this come about? 
Kate and I share a studio; this is our second season working together on shoes. It’s nice to be able to bounce ideas from each other, and as we're with each other every day, we spend a long time chatting about the shoes we're going to make.

You worked with Studio Lune on the set, with ceramics by Tessa Rudick. What was the inspiration behind this? 
As well as taking inspiration from Phyillida Barlows, I'd researched a lot of 70's ceramic pieces for their unusual shapes and colour combinations, as well as strange interiors, mainly spaces with colourful sands and rocks.

Finally, what's next for Helen Lawrence? 
Paris, sleep, and then SS16!

Interview: Zoe Whitfield
Photography: Daniel Sims


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