Craig Green goes from strength to strength. Despite the hype around him, his last few collections have been vaguely dystopian, full of references to armour, protection and hard travels. That pessimistic quality gives them a strange kind of epic grandeur, an emotive punch. Backstage, after his excellent S/S 18 show, he explained that he’d been feeling in the mood for something more optimistic. That explains those parrots and palm trees - look close and you’ll spot them abstracted by his signature quilting. He’d been thinking of common notions of paradise and shared understandings of utopia. But this is Green - no matter how cheery he’s feeling, his work will never look light or overly buoyant. It always slides back into a familiar mood - one that is quiet, calm and subtly noble. His skill is whispering, rather than shouting. It’s that consistent ability to move that makes him such a great designer. It’s doubly impressive given that his garments always draw on humble, simple ideas of clothing - workwear jackets, shirts, and, for this season, jeans.
Craig’s real skill is a technical one. His garments are even more interesting the more you look at them. He hands over a certain freedom to his wearer, allowing them to make the garments even more intriguing or unique through manipulating their forms. This season, he’d spent hours and hours hand-feeding tunnelling between each line of stitching, allowing garments to be pulled and cinched into strange, abstract forms - objects, rather than mere garments. Green certainly has an interest in sculpture - he’d brought back his signature face-covering creations, dubbing them 'altarpieces'. Backstage he joked that they looked a bit like stingrays. He’s clearly in a holiday mood. And why shouldn’t he be? He deserves to celebrate. His track record is flawless and his star continues to rise. What makes those sculptures so interesting is that they never detract from or compromise the actual garments. In the end, no matter how many stitches and straps are added, Green’s pieces shine through as wearable, relevant, real, somehow classically 'masculine'.
Given his eye for honest good clothes, it’s unsurprising that he served up the best pair of jeans shown on a menswear runway in years. His looked so simple at first glance, but when the models turned, a cut-out hole was visible on the bum. Green has a thing for circle cut-outs - remember those great knits which revealed the sternum? He muses that it’s like a space where your soul can come out. In this case, given their placement, naughtier references came to mind. A lighter note, for a collection steeped in joy, from conception to catwalk.