Most menswear designers want to make you feel better, but Craig Green would rather make you feel seen. He designs from a place of empathy, appreciating the emotional contours and challenges of being a man today—the way that Phoebe Philo’s designs at Celine, or the Olsens’ work for The Row, are material expressions of a similar understanding. It’s knowing what a person needs or wants. We're not talking about the right sweater or a new pair of pants, exactly. We’re talking about clothing that does emotional labor!
This season, Green moved his show to Paris, which is the kind of risk that can rankle or stymie a designer. But he more than rose to the occasion with an incredible emotional show, attended by fellow designers including Pierpaolo Piccioli and Clare Waight Keller.
Since his first show, in the halcyon time of spring 2015, Green has built a language out of seeing men as fragile and vulnerable, a counter-narrative to our assumptions about toxic aggressiveness. Of course, a fragile or vulnerable person can still be aggressive, but Green’s goal is to recognize the hurt rather than condemn it. His very particular vision is an economic one—survivalist rafts, tents, and webbing are constantly recurring motifs—and he continues to expand it. One standout piece was a breastplate of folded, stacked, and cinched fabric that reminded me of a fussy couturier’s ribbon technique—but also the way my very anxious male friends are often nauseous, their stomachs tied in knots. See, the shapes are evocative—I don’t think men see themselves in the way that Green does, or are afraid to. That’s why Green is famous for leading the men (and women) in his audience to weep, and this show was no exception.
Speaking of generalizations about men, Sunday’s Lanvin show finally crystallized something for me: skateboarding is the ballet of the menswear world. Nothing (except for perhaps good ol' Marie Antoinette) has shaped womenswear the way ballet has—nearly every collection uses tulle or beige-pink, or bases something on the way dancers layer or move in their clothes, or, duh, uses ballet flats. Skateboarding is a similar muse for menswear, from the style of the guys who do it to the way its clothing is cut and moves on the body. The sport's influence has so seeped into the way world of men’s clothes that whether or not you even skate, bro, is now an irrelevant question. (Although, okay, ooookay: when growing up, “I was really into Tony Hawk and Jason Lee,” Lanvin designer Bruno Sialelli said after the show, “and I was not necessarily a good skater, but I was obsessed with that movement, and it felt interesting to dig into that register for the show.”)
At Lanvin, the skate details du jour were a pastel-pretty version of the super-fat Osiris D3 sneaker with wiiiild colored laces, and extremely swagged, low-rise pants in silk that pooled with skater precision—a skateboarding flou, if you will. Harry Styles, huge fan of huge pants and a known Lanvin fan, would look awesome in these. They take their JNCO origins and, through the magic of fashion, elevate them to something playfully beyond.
It’s been a year since Sialelli, an alum of J.W. Anderson, started as creative director at Lanvin, and he’s certainly doing a good job of interpreting his own interests in the language of Jeanne Lanvin (which, aha!, was heavily influenced by ballet). Backstage after the show, he wore a green and white shirt with Vans-esque checks, under a double-breasted navy sweater whose sleeves were just a bit too long, and an olive version of the big bad pants—all Lanvin. And I thought, I get it!
Originally Appeared on GQ