craig green turns fragility into strength for autumn/winter 19
Welcome back to London, Craig!
In this autumn/winter 19 collection Craig Green managed to cover, with his usual lightness and poetry, a lot of ground. The starting point was a “man made of glass” he explained, post show. The central idea was one of fragility and vulnerability and emotion turned into strength.
This might as well be a mantra for Craig Green’s designs as a whole. His ability to turn the ruggedness of workwear into delicate, splintering, formal intricacies. He is a creator of clothing that unravels in layers like opening flowers. Here there were coats wrapped in sashes, tassels dripping from bags, tops of wrapped elastic strips, peeling cocoons of fabric, layers of sheer plastics and laces and fragments of knitwear. Tradition and craft are the crux of what he does, “an idea of protection,” he said, the possibility in “turning something so light and throwaway into something tough”.
In a stark cavernous show venue under the Old Billingsgate Market building on the banks of the Thames, to a soundtrack of musical fragments grabbed at from across the globe, the show seemed to propose a cultural universalism. Craig wanted it to feel “like it could have happened at any time, in any place, any country,” he explained. “It wasn't about the environment around the man, it was about the man alone.” In a London menswear season that has felt heavy on theatrics and spectacle, Craig was content to let the fashion itself become the focus.
Some design highlights from this show then: the series of plaid pieces, which veered away from the material’s usual workwear implications of lumberjacks and became loose, surgical smocks. Secondly, the rainbow-hued explosion of plastics that wrapped around and sprouted from the body in protective swathes. Finally a series of coats at the show’s end, plain grey at the front, printed neon collages on the back -- hidden from the front on runway camera lenses. “All fashion is so front facing now,” Craig said. “I wanted to create something that only the people who come to the show can see.” The collage contained various cultural references from across the globe, including a painting of a woman that Craig’s mum bought at a car boot sale.
This ability to turn trash into beauty, transform the ordinary into the astonishing, is pure Craig Green -- and it was on full display here this season. Welcome back to London, Craig.