Craig Green Reveals a New Moncler Genius Collection: “Everything We Were Thinking About Was Linked to Nature”
Out this week, Craig Green’s latest collection in collaboration with Moncler’s Genius project was made a little differently. He usually commutes to Milan monthly, this time he was restricted to only one visit. With no physical presentation possible, he had to consider how to deliver the message of the collection through photography rather than an arrangement of space. The result is striking: two fantastic images of his new, rune-like symbol for the brand, which was transformed into two rafts and then shot from above. The collection itself, meanwhile, was shot on models also wearing some of the Leonardo-esque engineered superstructures that have long been a distinct element in Green’s articulations of the worn. We checked in for a catch-up to learn how he has been navigating the perilous waters of now.
Luke Leitch: Back in 2019, you revealed that your collections tended to be conceived of as groups of three, and that generally each one expressed a cycle of past, present, and future. Has that structure been affected by the disruption of 2020 and 2021?
Craig Green: I’m still thinking that way. But everything is shifted around now. The way that we show, the way that we present, and even the time that we show all seems to be up in the air at the moment.
Does that altered structure in turn alter the work?
Definitely. I mean, it’s definitely changed the way that we work and also the way that I think about it. In one way, I’m desperate to go back—I mean, I know people say that they don’t want to go back to the way it was, but in some ways, I do want to go back, back to doing a show, having an event, and seeing people. That kind of interaction with other humans, even just seeing people at our show and talking about the work in person, I don’t think you can ever replace it. I guess I’m a traditionalist in that way, even though I’m not very traditional in others.
You once said in order to make something futuristic it needs to appear timeless or beyond time. Maybe I’m wrong, but the graphic shape that this Moncler collection is constructed around looks like it could be some ancient hieroglyph representing an abstract human form…
What’s interesting about it is that different people see it differently. Some people see a platypus, some people see a frog, and some people see this strange human. It started from the monogram. There is a jacket [in the collection] that has a kind of twisted monogram, almost like an allover pattern rather than a centralized graphic. That came from the actual Moncler logo, and we wanted this collection to grow out from that. We were also looking at a lot of mountaineering ropes and knots used for safety. I love the concept of something that works perfectly and is beyond updating: It just works and requires no reinvention. I guess you could also say it’s maybe kind of Celtic, or Nordic.
You shot that shape in these beautiful raft photographs; what was the rationale behind those?
When we started the collection, everything we were thinking about was linked to nature. We wanted all of the graphics and all of the symbolism linked back to nature in some way. We knew that we weren’t going to be doing a physical event, so we used it as an opportunity as the first time that we can present the Moncler collection outdoors to see it in a different setting. Usually we do a massive installation in a room where we try to control the environment. The collection is always focused around what the future will be. But this time, it felt almost like it was about the fantasy of being outdoors again, and we wanted to kind of encourage. There is simplicity in the garments compared to previous seasons. We thought it was interesting that they were things that encourage you to be outdoors or encourage you to go outside, even though we still had the conceptual sculptures. It was definitely more about balancing [fashion] with nature: I always think that adventure and things that are made for adventure—or even the idea of adventure—is a process of finding the balance between you and nature, finding a balance in power. I love that when you do extreme sports you are going on a journey whose destination is to find that balance.
Surf the wave without wiping out or climb the mountain without falling from the precipice.
Exactly. I guess that’s what Moncler and brands that create technical outerwear for sports are. They are providers of the tools to enable that balance with the environment around you. So we made the rafts, and they are real, inflatable boats. We wanted to create something showing the interlocking shape in a natural format. We were working both with and against the water in the whitewater rafting images. We wanted to create a feeling of epic adventure.
Where did you shoot the section with the collections, the models, and the superstructures?
On Osea Island, on the river Blackwater in Essex. It’s amazing. Weirdly also, it was interesting that we shot there because the road that leads to the island gets covered by the tide twice a day, so you have very specific time that you can access and exit the island. Being controlled by nature or working within those restraints was kind of interesting, you know, because we had to catch the sunrise and we had to get there at, like, like four in the morning.
So you were dealing with a series of geographically defined lockdown restrictions.
Yeah! And I hadn’t been anywhere in nature for maybe a year. Obviously preparing for the shoot is something stressful, making the collection is too. But as soon as I was there it was very relaxing. I felt very serene. Because sometimes you forget that we’re meant to be in these places, and that it’s good for you.