Every now and then a true visionary arrives into the fashion world. How I felt today at the Craig Green S/S 15 menswear show - his debut solo catwalk presentation after three seasons showing as part of MAN - is, I imagine, how journalists felt when viewing early McQueen shows, based on how they reminisce. Moved. Shaken. Totally immersed and totally seduced. Enthralled by the vision, intrigued by the pieces and inspired by the ethos. But then again if you play Wim Merten's Struggle for Pleasure as your soundtrack you're pretty much guaranteed tears.
There is a quiet confidence and strength to Green as a person that infuses all his clothes. Their poignancy and impact is increased by their simplicity - see the humble workwear fabrics he champions like denim and jersey, and this collection even industrial tarpaulin, and the focus on staples and great separates. Daily Mail journalists, David Gandy and other narrow-minded naysayers may look to the dalliances with carpentry and sculpture and recoil in fear, but the genius of Green is his ability to marry a clear conceptual vision - frankly it's remarkable that he's cultivated such a streamlined point of view and aesthetic style just four seasons in - with pieces that could slot into every man's wardrobe; lovely knits, great roomy jackets and jersey basics.
Backstage, Green talked of trying to explore new territory now he's showing alone - he didn't want to distance himself from old work, more push himself forward. After all, it would have been easy to rest on the success and immediate visual appeal of that tie-dye. After the show, one commentator remarked that the collection was 'expected but unexpected', an apt, if paradoxical way to sum things up. While the roomy shapes, volume and boxy silhouettes we've become familiar were there, he'd scaled back the focus on surface, forgoing hand-painting and dying in favour of block, head-to-toe hues that gave the collection a new purity. He wanted to focus on good, hard-working pieces and functionality, hence the 'flat pack' concept, which saw garments furnished with many ties allowing the wearer to turn a piece from a restricted, fitted item into a flowing, billowing jacket or a skirt-like pair of jeans in a matter of seconds.
Green's collections always feel somewhat spiritual - remember last season's monkish garb? - but this felt even more holy than usual, largely because of the way the models were ordered into colour tribes, each troupe accompanied by a large flag that floated peaceful and hauntingly as it moved up the catwalk. Green explained the concept as a 'silent protest'. That's very him - he's a humble man, confident enough in his skills to never need to shout, brag or distract with showy gimmicks. So what was the protest against? You could see it as a challenge to traditional suiting. Or perhaps a two fingers up to those who say that the young London pack are all about silly logoed streetwear, rather than anything cerebral. Maybe even a comment against the puffery of colour, texture and embellishment on neighbouring runways. Whatever you interpreted was probably incorrect. After all, Green marches to his own tune - he's special, a precious voice in London with a unique perspective. Join the protest now, as he's the future.