Craig Green Explores The Male Body SS20

There are few designers holding down the fort for the London menswear scene, Craig Green is at the forefront. Consistently season after season, Green's collections have transcended the physical form into a deep and emotional understanding of the human mind. His ability to do so, alongside his craftsmanship and showmanship skills as a fashion practitioner have made him unlike any other designer around.

On his underground return to the vaults below Old Billingsgate Market, only this time round the designer opted for a mirrored floor reflecting back the bricked arches onto themselves, thus making them whole. He spoke about the need for more safe spaces and how in a visual sense the mirror doubled said safe space. It was also meant as a celebration. "People scrutinise themselves in mirrors, showing us another possibility of being," he said. "I wanted to show that things didn't have to be from one place - not negative or positive, but celebratory."

This collection took the male form for exactly what it is. Craig Green addressed the male anatomy; skin, muscles, nerves-endings, membranes, but also and perhaps most important in this case, emotions and feelings. Green explained how he wanted to continue to explore strength, fragility and masculinity. Last season we were given "men made of glass," remember those brilliantly smocked biodegradable plastic pieces? That was about representing a perfect balance between strength and fragility as seen in a final form - this time around it was about gazing deep inside oneself.

Green has established many signatures within his clothes: quilting, chords, ties, straps, channels, sculptures, cutouts, workwear and utility inspired shapes - to name a few. The most beautiful quilted satin jackets and wide trousers in an icy colour palette inspired by a tranquil, almost dream-like trance reminded Craig Green fans of exactly why they fell in love with the brand. They also came with almost x-ray like embroideries that formed muscles. Here he emphasised what he does best whilst also exploring unfamiliar territory, those intricately cut paper lantern men in ripstop nylon featuring Christian Easter resurrection iconography further proved how extraudinary a craftsman Craig is. They were described by Craig as like "flags made from sails." Even his sculptures made from plumbing pipes formed crucifixions across boys' torsos and floor-length gingham kaftans suggested stained-glass windows but turned out to be "instruction diagrams for folding shirts I saw on a Marie Kondo video."

The digital prints on rubberised rain macs that closed this Spring show featured internet stock photos of pornographic images of naked men, they were subtle and often only hazily hinted at a bicep, chest or leg. It was clever to avoid any use of genitalia because it challenged how our eyes are trained to gender something and put a label on it immediately. They reminded me of a steamy glass shower or steamy car window - a voyeuristic gaze if you will. For something that so easily could've crossed over into vulgar territory, they were beautiful, masculine and almost baptismal.

One of Craig Green's strongest powers is his mastermind ability to play with how us the viewers see life. Whether that's with good and evil, light and dark, fragile and tough, dreams and nightmares. In a collection heavy on a dreamy escapism and life after death, this was a show about Craig's obsession with skin essentially. The opening looks came in leather and the show's closing soundtrack would turn out to be Goodbye Horses by Q Lazarus - or as you may know it, the soundtrack to notorious serial killer Buffalo Bill's iconic yet disturbing dance scene in The Silence Of The Lambs. Once again creative genius from Craig Green - London needs to keep hold of you.

Images courtesy of i-D, Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway
The Wolf of High Street


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