Craig Green AW14

kaleidoscopic

By now I should have realised the rest of the designers showing under the MAN stable are rabbits in a hare race compared to this guy. His clothes (literally) shone through more than the others because they were more imaginative and confusing. Looking at the collection online, as you do now,  it seemed as though the collection is made of prints and all black pieces. Though, in fact, the printed looks are made of cloth hand-painted with three layers of paint to produce the brilliant kaleidoscopic pieces. The quality of craft is of his own league Charlie Porter pointed this out:

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Ironically, the main spectacle was the details but the silhouettes they were cut into had as much of an effect. They echoed monastic rituals and ceremonies, with long, large and imposing clothes that seemed more powerful and ‘masculine’ (the quotation marks need to be included after J.W Anderson and also to recognise power does not have to be masculine) than a well cut suit from his more traditional LC:M counterparts. Restrained with buckles with shapes resembling old Japanese noragis, it almost felt as if the body was being dressed like a temple in the looks with  intricately constructed headgear, peaked as a roof might be and on the plinth of a neck and head and other spiritual elements from the sense of awakening that he may have wanted to invoke by presenting looks in dark then fantastically coloured iterations. Suzy Menkes summed up perfectly the overall gist, ‘The result was poetic and intriguing, with a shadow of the East and the ethnic. It was as if this intelligent designer was asking why, if other cultures can present males in skirts and robes, shouldn’t they be absorbed into Western culture?’

Where do skirts reside in Western wear? Often mocked and ridiculed for its ‘curse‘ of feminine association. May he be making a larger political statement? Probably not, but the creation of a  a few potent examples of its use for masculinity, with and without trousers, can only widen horizons.

The collection seems to be formal and casual all at once, and the model on the right of the picture below epitomises that.

He has also in this third and final collection for MAN produced what appears to be a small accessories line of shoes, bags and hats. Most new designers don’t fathom the thought of a whole band of items for each season as they focus on the clothes, but Mr. Green seems to be able to do all deftly because the black leather buckle shoes, in collaboration with Purified, and bags are well designed and conceptually coherent.

I was especially fond to see the garments made of black wool felt, because after trying one of his AW13 jumpers on in OTHER/ shop, I remember the fit being perfect; oversized but not engulfing while being very structured. The extra fabric tracing its outline exaggerates the shoulder while curving it, which I found ingenious.

The most fascinating thing about his collections, is that they can never be pinpointed to a space, place or reference. It confuses, excites, questions, and sells. Most of the AW13 stock was sold when I went in at the end of AUGUST last year. Part of the confusion makes it desirable, because it almost attracts you in its otherworldliness, similar to Comme des Garçons.

I recently read about his design philosophy of essentially taking something cheap and making it meaningful, and of worth both financial and conceptual. An ‘improvised luxury’. However, it never feels like when watching one of his collections, that anything has been overwrought or pushed past the point of its extremity, even with past various sculptures. It always feels as some restraint has been taken, and it is in this most showmanly of shows that his focused direction has never wavered.

Full collection:

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