Topman Design's eclectic show, neatly enough, came bundled with a mix-tape left on every seat. At Craig Green's, a few hundred yards away in the basement of Bloomsbury House, music played an equally critical role -- this time, courtesy of a soundtrack of violins, skating and whirring in ripples and peaks of sound as Green's models floated through the white-tiled space. Three seasons in (not counting his MAN apprenticeship), the designer's aesthetic is already firmly established, somewhere in an interzone between Japanese workwear, medieval armour and ethereal ceremonial robes; an aesthetic that's recently been rewarded by a finalist's place in this year's LVMH competition, and celebrated in a stunningly kinetic Nick Knight campaign released just a few days ago.
Till now, Green's shows have been powerfully single-minded -- a single colour, a central silhouette, an unmissable message. This time, though, he fleshed his vision out; white, black, indigo and ceremonial red were joined by electric bursts of orange, golden yellow, powder blue and emerald. And in place of head-to-toe monotones, those colours were layered and woven through each other to highlight the beauty -- and strangeness -- of how Green's garments are constructed, assembled, and worn. Despite their deeply different aesthetics, there were moments where the blends evoked thoughts of Haider Ackermann's potent, painterly assemblies. But Green's distinct skill, in strong evidence today, is in how attuned he is to the notion of vulnerability. So, stiffly armoured panels are pulled apart and tied with delicate strands, or opened to reveal slabs of exposed flesh; sudden slots and twists bloomed with streaks of dangling fabric.
Most of all, the show reflected the reality of how Green's clothing is making its way from the runway to the real world -- a reality which could be surveyed by glancing round the audience, at the many writers, buyers, bloggers and photographers wearing fragments of his work; loose, trailing shirts and knotted jackets, frayed patchwork knots and dragging, bloated trousers. It wasn't a leap forward in concept or vision -- but it was a timely acknowledgment of the speed at which Green's carved a position for himself within the crowded menswear world. And at show’s end, it left the question of where he might go next intriguingly open.