THE SPRING SHOWS IN LONDON MARKED AN UPHEAVAL OF EXPECTATIONS IN THE FORM OF ONE TALENTED YOUNG DESIGNER. MEET MENSWEAR’S NEW BIG NAME.
From VMAN 32, Fall 2014
PHOTOGRAPHY MEINKE KLEIN
The biggest story to emerge from the Spring men’s shows is undeniably the arrival of Craig Green. Having previously presented with Fashion East, Craig debuted his solo runway show at London Collections: Men and the unthinkable happened: his clothes elicited cheers—and tears—from the fickle fashion pack.
“It’s amazing that people can have a reaction like that to something on a catwalk,” Green says from his new studio in Hackney. “We never really set out to make people cry. I think a lot of people are sort of mad and over-the-top. I don’t know if there was something in the air, there was a weird chain reaction going on. I think a lot of people who weren’t there were like, ‘Oh, shut up. It’s just clothes.’”
Not so fast. Combining grand shapes with utilitarian elements and a practically monastic, monochrome palette, those clothes were at once messianic and pagan, protective yet vulnerable—surprising contradictions that amounted to a refreshing study in purity. Venerable fashion critic Tim Blanks hailed it as one of the top two shows of the season—the other being Junya Watanabe—and closed out his effusive Style.com review saying, “The cult of Craig Green is about to explode.”
But the 27-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate remains grounded. “We were worried people would think it’s the most boring thing we’ve ever done,” he says with a laugh, referring to himself and collaborator Helen Price. “Every time we try a new collection, it seems to be a reaction to the one before. Last season was so heavy and layered, and kind of about this obsessive romance, so we wanted to do something that was loose and free.” The designer’s love of functional workwear was still present, but in so straightforward a way that it was rendered deceptively simple. “There are lots of pockets, and not apologetic pockets,” he explains. “They’re on top or on the outside, because they’re something to celebrate. It’s about escapism, restriction, and freedom. Being tied up and undone and released at the same time.”
Green also finds a chaotic element in his clothes. “The clothes look totally different standing still than when they are moving. From the very beginning it was about movement.” Green maintains that his breakthrough collection was a happy accident, but he expects it will inform the shape of things in seasons to come. “There’s a learning curve,” he says. “We didn’t set out to make it look the way it did, but it naturally formed into that, which is a good way to work. We didn’t think it would have the positive reaction it had. We wanted to challenge ourselves and prove that we can do this kind of work. It will definitely inform what our brand can be.”