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LFW: Jayne Pierson and Derek Lawlor – Interview

Fusing the marvellous minds of Jayne Pierson and long-term friend Derek Lawlor to create a conceptual knitwear collection is nothing short of spectacular. But their collaborations for SS12 didn’t stop there. Pierson and Lawlor even got the Royal Ballet involved to bring their first Pierson Lawlor line to life by swanning down the catwalk en pointe in their innovative designs. With a focus on movement, texture and structural designs, their SS12 flows elegantly. We spoke to them after their graceful show to get the inside tales of this partnership.

Planet Notion: Are you happy with the collection?

Derek Lawlor: Yes yes, absolutely relieved.

Jayne Pierson: Yeah it’s gone well.

PN: Talk us through the collection?

JP: We really wanted to do something that pushed each other’s boundaries.

DL:  Jayne is very well known for her leather pieces and that was what attracted me to doing the collaboration. I like her use of raw materials with the suede and leather and combining it with the knitwear. Ultimately I have sculptural bits and pieces in my own collections and I wanted to develop that with Jayne to see if we could merge the materials. And it’s pretty amazing.

PN: What made you want to put the collection on ballet dancers?

JP: We initially had this idea to do a photoshoot with a friend and she wanted to do some work with ballet as she had done ballet before.

DL: We had done a collaboration for a photoshoot with 125 Magazine previous to our collection and that kind of gave us the idea because we love the movement of the dancers - they bring such elegance. Rather than just having static models, we wanted people to see the movements of the garments.

JP: Yeah we wanted to show the fluidity of the fabrics. The models are athletes and so they’re well sculptured to show the clothes.

PN: The use of ballet dancers is bridging the gap between art and fashion, so tell us more about that?

JP: My background is music so I worked with a composer to make something bespoke for the catwalk and we had an amazing session drummer who came in and did this Arabic, Eastern flavour for the drumming. And then we had these various concepts like Moroccan, Marrakesh, Naked Lunch, William Burroughs and a kind of surrealism. We had an idea of future history and a kind of displacement.

DL: Every look has a story to it so every time we thought about whom our beautiful lady would be in this situation, we would joke about it. But that was actually really fluid in the collection and that’s what made it so wearable, the fact that we imagined her. It was such an organic process and we were using materials that wouldn’t necessarily be seen together.

PN: Do you want to continue to work together?

DL: We’re both bespoke designers in our own right but we have so many elements that merge together. We didn’t get stressed out working together as it was such a natural process.

JP: We both have our strengths and weaknesses and instinctively know what they are. We naturally found a balance.

DL: I can’t stop and you can *laughs*. But it’s been an amazing experience and we’ve had so many people involved – including the Royal ballet and Rick Guest who was a photographer and Jimmy who produced the film. Everyone had such a massive input that made the collection grow. As soon as we had the fittings with the models we knew we could tell the story.

JP: As soon as we had the music on they were pulling these shapes and you can see how it worked really well with the garments.

DL: It’s been a great collaboration and we’re great friends and I think that’s the key point of it, we want to work together. We designed the collection from Wales too so between London and Wales and having fittings with the ballet dancers, to being in the studio at Wales with Jayne’s dog, we were just enjoying the process and getting excited about the materials. That was where the link was perfect because Jayne has a great understanding of the leather work and I have the ideas for the sculptural pieces and it’s merging that all together which I think we achieved.

PN: How did you find working with the ballet dancers?

JP: Their shape was a lot more athletic than I anticipated and I really liked that they had that womanly shape. They were amazing and so easy to work with.

DL: As soon as they arrived I think we were a bit like “oh my god they are dancers, not models” but as soon as they were on point the garments just worked straight away. They can do things models can’t and they project their personality and that’s what you need.

JP: Rather than being just a mannequin, they put their own excitement forward and that creates a massive buzz.

DL: Yeah, no one can do what those dancers can do. *All laugh*

- Kathryn Duncan

- Photography: James Hawley

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