For those who believe that Craig Green is at the pinnacle of British menswear, it is easy to see why. Since his debut, his collections have reduced the audience to blubbering messes, baffled Daily Mail readers and most importantly taken our breath away – time and time again.
Although on a smaller scale than creating an entire show, Green’s campaigns are treated with just as much attention and create equally beautiful results. For his latest campaign – that Green summed up in one word as “ambitious” – he enlisted photographer Dan Tobin Smith, choosing him specifically for his expertise at shooting large still life images. “He’s a kind of incredible scientific kind of photographer. It’s like he knows how to work everything out,” Green explained.
The pair previously worked together on a shoot for GQ Style, creative giant animal head structures and teamed up again four years later to create the campaign images. Styled by Dazed’s creative director Robbie Spencer with art direction by Ben Kelway Studio, at a first glance you probably won’t spot that the giant structures (that Green describes as a coat of arms of sorts) are made up of groups of people dressed in the AW17 collection – revealed only by an exposed wrist or ankle. The idea initially came from Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man and images of Hindu deities but developed to fit with the recurring theme of Green’s campaigns. “It’s always like a group of people or a set of people. But usually, the people are kind of secondary in all of them, from the mass that they create,” he said.
“We said we want to make a raft, we want to make a sort of lifeboat raft. Kind of like a symmetrical shrine shape thing made from padded people – but we wanna shoot it on water” – Craig Green
“We said we want to make a raft, we want to make a sort of lifeboat raft. Kind of like a symmetrical shrine shape thing made from padded people – but we wanna shoot it on water,” shared Green on how he presented the idea to Tobin Smith. Following the initial conversation came sketches, then Green’s team lying on the floor in his studio to figure out positioning (all overseen by the designer himself on a ladder taking pictures with a selfie stick) and then the creation of the giant raft structures by set designer and frequent collaborator David Curtis-Ring. The final stage was shooting the images in a swimming pool in the back garden of a house in Essex.
The campaign itself is a chance for Green to revisit the original inspiration behind the collection, six months later from a new perspective. “They are very different in terms of energy but they come from the same place.” Each of the images represents one of the five final looks from the AW17 collection, matching the colours exactly and showing the meticulous detail that Green puts into creating the imagery. “It was multiples of the same outfit. We made the same outfit four times just for the campaigns.”
As for future campaigns, Green isn’t sure how he will be able to top this one: “What are we gonna do next, set people on fire?”