Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hope and Heaven Appear at a Poetic Craig Green Show at Pitti Uomo // Spring 2019

Craig Green’s show started fashionably late. Just another day at fashion week.

He was one of the guest designers at Pitti Uomo, the biannual men’s fashion trade show in Florence. It began in 1972 at the Fortezza de Basso. Pitti Uomo takes place after the London shows and before the Milan shows. In recent years, the organisers invited designers like Raf Simons, Virgil Abloh, J.W. Anderson to present their collections as guests of the four-day-long affair. 

Green’s collection took place at the Boboli Gardens, a park where Raf Simons once showed his work, and he waited for the right moment to start the show. The moment was the Florentine blue that enriches the sky during the transition from dusk to nighttime. There’s something inherently beautiful and incredibly peaceful but also sinister about the passage of light into dark.

“Reality is much scarier than your dreams,” he said. In light of the calamitous events that plague the world—from reports about Antarctica losing three trillion tonnes of ice since 1992; escalating trade wars and fraught diplomatic negotiations—he’s stating the blindingly obvious. But as much as he was thinking about the horrors of the world, he considered the ideas of hope and heaven. His palette consisted of sherbet shades, a poetic departure from chaos.

An incrementalist, Green’s vision is shaped by a desire to develop a design handwriting. There were his usual drawstring motifs, a highly functional interpretation of workwear and utilitarian style rendered in abstract patterns. (Green spoke about being influenced by the uniforms of cleaners, surgeons, postmen—capturing the mundane and elevating it). He toyed with perspective by adding fabrics that were layered to create an illusion of three-dimensional techniques but Green said everything was done by hand, technology wasn’t involved.  

The show’s denouement was marked by a burst of psychedelics. Ponchos were resemblant of psychedelic expressionism—one had an angel printed on it, denoting the theme of heaven. It was an interesting final exit and it contextualised the collection which was as much about hope and faith in the modern world as it was about the tropes of ordinary lives and renewing them. 

It’s almost perverse to consider optimism in a time when humankind is trudging through unimaginable horror. But there’s a deeply profound poeticism to the way Green uses colour and silhouette. The softness and subtlety, but forensic consideration, is hopeful, if not for the world, for the future of menswear. 

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