There’s that scene in Terminator 2 where the new Terminator first begins to reform: globules of shining mercury come together and compound until a human shape is formed. I’ve never forgotten that scene because it was the first, and one of the few, times when special effects meant anything—it wasn’t just a movement that made you go “wow,” it was a fantastical interpretation that made you question fantasy. I thought of this moment again during Jeremy Laing’s A/W 2011 presentation: the ethereal made real; the conjunction of artistry and functionality. Laing’s dresses remain supremely geometric—this is Kandinsky as much as it’s Dali. But he’s let loose with his prints, incorporating the works of artist Scott Treleaven in collage prints, and then taking on lunar landscapes, chemical spills, and precise but happy accidents with others. But we shouldn’t get carried away with the visuals; the stars of Laing’s collection remains his cuts. His dresses and gowns ebb and flow along the body as if the designer had programmed agency into their circuits. His cape coat had a whiff of Japanese experimentalism, but was reined in by the jersey cowl dress that descended beneath. The swath merino tube dress makes a careful turn over the left shoulder, its asymmetry drawing you to back for a second glance. And a third.
Laing’s look to the stars is a welcome risk from a designer who has his feet so firmly planted on the earth. Each collection is increasingly wearable, without leaving behind any of the profound artistry that is inextricable from Laing’s vision. Laing’s work has the unique ability to leave us at once covetous and in deep thought. And with this collection, over the moon, as well. **All photos: IMAXTREE