Interview with Nick Knight

Nick Night Courtesy of Nick Knight

Nick Night
Courtesy of Nick Knight

Photographer Nick Knight who has been expressing fashion revolution in the most beautiful way no longer wishes to call himself a photographer because he is an ‘image maker’ who expanded the territory of photography technic and concept as well as a ‘Fashion Democrat’ who is writing the new values of what beauty is. Nick Knight’s expectation future doesn’t only lie in the interest of photography but will continue from his desire to change the world’s aesthetic standard. Prior to the opening of his exhibition in Korea, he has spoken to <Vogue Korea> about the origin of his revolutionary intuition and reasoning penetrated from his 40 years of experience.

A sign on the door read, ‘The Show Studio’ at the address given for the interview. The door led to a space with an open ceiling covered with a glass closing on the top allowing beautiful sun light straight in. There was a long table and a few chairs surrounded by freshly painted white walls. It was once an old church building, I was told, and from yesterday the new office for Show Studio. A man appeared in a crisp grey suit with a white handkerchief neatly folded and placed in his jacket pocket. This is a man who desires to be called an ‘image maker’ or otherwise and is a ‘fashion democrat’ who believes in images and its evolution. To Nick Knight, this is a very special moment that marks his 40 years of life as a photographer during which he has created a collection of legendary images what he is today renowned for. 

The exhibition <Nick Knight: Image> will take place at Daelim Museum in Seoul from 6th of October and take you through everything you need to know about Nick Knight and his works from the Rock’n’Roll spirited ‘Skinhead’ photos to his concept work space ‘Show Studio (’ with which he has created works for the music, art and fashion scenes. Nick mentions that he is ‘very pleased to plan his first exhibition in Korea, a country with a very progressive image”. He is looking forward to his first visit to the country while equally excited about opening a retrospective exhibition for the first time. He doesn’t like to stay in the past and it’s all about the future. All this he explains going into great details with such depth as if leading a private view mentioning what composes the exhibition and sharing all along the different stories behind each project, his philosophy and causes behind the process. Nick’s conversational skills were as fascinating as his photography and concepts as well as the fashion scene he has been part for over 40 years.

Nick Knight doesn’t just remain in his place of taking the most beautiful photos in the world but his experiments continue to desire the unknown platform of the near future. ‘The language of an ‘image’ and the global platform in the internet world and a new world where digital technology would have advanced further is what he looks up to. At the end of the interview he reveals his ultimate plan to open Show Studio beyond London and in LA as well as Seoul. This exhibition therefore may as well be the prologue of Nick Knight’s version of innovation and this interview a message encouraging to ‘Go out, and create more’, a positive message addressing the uncertainty of the future.

Tatjana Patitz for Jil Sander, 1992 Courtesy of Nick Knight

Tatjana Patitz for Jil Sander, 1992
Courtesy of Nick Knight

Vogue Korea: What would we be expecting in the exhibition from the 40 years of work you have created? We’re curious to understand the reason and objective behind curating this exhibition. 
Nick Knight: I don’t particularly enjoy seeing backwards, but I like to see new things. I really dislike retrospective exhibition, and so this is my first retrospective exhibition. I was concerned about how I should connect the body of work to the public, as I had to look at 40 years of work and I am trying to make sense of it. I needed to tell a story, communicate and connect with the public. So I decided to start with the first photographic project which I did in 1979 in college called ‘Skinhead’.

VK: How are the works archived? Are you looking at the negatives or prints for example?
NK: At the time, most of my photos were negatives, but now you can do a lot more digitally. I started from the negatives and then I matched the original print which I did. At the time, I was telling a story, and now I want to tell a story through this exhibition. My ‘Skinhead’ work is rough and raw, and I wanted to start my work with these prints.

VK: Have you reprinted the images or are they digitally done?
NK: Yes, I had to scan the original print and the original negatives and matched with digital technology. And I spent a long time to get the right ‘feel’. My exhibition goes from ‘Skinhead’ into portraits. I did 100 portraits in 1985 and then in 2009, I did 200 portraits for the Somerset House exhibition. For the exhibition, I created a live studio space which everyone could see inside of the studio and the public could see from Lady Gaga to Naomi Campbell.

VK: I wasn’t able to see the live studio sessions, but I remember the sensation which the show created!
NK: Through the exhibition, I wanted to show ‘Performance art’. During this summer, I showed a clip of exhibit on the internet and more than 1.7 million people viewed it. Within 20 days, 200 people took portraits, and normally the live session would only allow around 6 people which included makeup artist, stylist, model, assistant and the art director. This was the reason that I started ‘Show Studio’. I wanted to open a studio and ‘show’ them to the public.

VK: Why did you want to show your studio?
NK: It’s my passion. It’s the reason which makes me get out of bed. It is what I really like and it excites me, although at the time magazine editor’s tendency often made me upset. I wanted to show the variety of beauty through Show Studio, as it was a time when Alexander McQueen’s clothing were not even in the magazines, as Alexander McQueen didn’t advertise and magazines preferred mostly white models than any black or Asian models for the show. Sometimes an intrusive beauty was created through the collisions.

VK: How was the live studio platform in summerset house? How did the audience perceive it?
NK: I have lots of good memories with Lady Gaga. Many fans were waiting for 3 hours to see Lady Gaga. When she put on her lipstick through the double glazed mirrors, the fans were going mad. It was interesting to see the ‘connection’ between the public’s aspiration towards the celebrity and the place where people could see through inside but can’t see the outside.

VK: After ‘Skinhead’ and the 200 portraits, what’s going to be in the next space at the exhibition? 
NK: It’s about the works created by me and some of the designers who are close to me. Through the ‘Designer Monographs’ section, it tells the story about the designer’s beautiful world of works which I expressed through my heart and soul.

VK: Any specific ones that are most meaningful to you?
NK: I have worked with Yohji Yamamoto for the first time in 1986, and he was supporting all the fashion parts which I loved. At the time, it was all about ‘Power Dressing’ and the clothing which emphasize the women’s body silhouette. But Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo created clothing which expressed the ‘woman’s heart’. It was something new that a woman can show their beauty by not through showing woman’s deep breast line and body silhouette. A perfectly made coat with red coloured bustle sticking out at the back was enough to create a beauty by itself. And then the show moves on to Martin Sitbon, Jill Sander, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

VK: I feel like I’m walking through an exhibition that’s not even open yet. What’s in the next space?
NK: There are variety of themes. Such as thinking about the interaction between the photos and paintings. The trend of media is to ‘cross over’ each other. With my iPhone, I can take pictures, videos and I could get a still shot image through the videos. As I could paint by moving the image, each media‘s start and the end became obscure. To show the world of ‘image making’, I chose the actual exhibition’s English title as ‘image’ as well.

VK: How do you think the making of image and the work with image has evolved?
NK: I surely think it has a deep connection with the appearance of digital images. It began in the 80’s and from the mid 90’s, the image making scope has enlarged which means working on image traditionally has already started to fully expand. As working on the paintings, through splitting the depth of an image, and changing the brightness, it could be seen three- dimensional. And by uploading photos on internet, it was possible to move above the boundary of ‘traditional image’. So, the work I’m doing is not ‘photography’, it’s ‘image making’.

VK: The way you compare working on digital image and painting which are 2 medium so different from each other is quite interesting.
NK: Recently in a very high humidity room, I was working on the beautiful photo I took on acetate film and I was working by moving steam on it. Because I was putting ‘paint’ on paper it becomes a ‘painting’.

VK: So, do you think what you are doing is the work of an ‘image maker’?
NK: Yes. When I began as a photographer, working through a small hole on a camera, filtering the light onto a film and to expand the come out and to record is what I and most of the photographers did. But what I’m doing now is different! Everything has changed. The photos are used in a ‘gallery’ or ‘magazine’ platforms only. But when the internet appeared, the photos were in this world, and most of us look at the image through their mobile phones. And this is only just a huge beginning.

VK: Do you actually work with your mobile phone?
NK: Of course. One time, when I showed the photos which I took with my mobile phone on the Show Studio website, someone commented madly to me about it. So, I was really surprised that it was the guests who complained, and not the client. I wanted to know the reasons.

VK: Do you think it was a similar situation in the past when photography first appeared as a type of media? 
NK: In the 1850s when the photography first appeared, artists were complaining, worrying, and got scared about it. But nowadays the change is much faster, as the whole world is connected to each other. It has become a world where me living in London can communicate with someone in Seoul.

VK: How did you embrace the change?
NK: We are instigating this by fashion film and live shows. To live record Lee McQueen’s 2010 F/W collection called ‘Plato’s Atlantis’, two rails were installed on both sides of the catwalk, and a huge camera was following the model on the runway and then changed the direction to the front row, and recorded Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington. When Lady Gaga announced on her twitter that she would reveal her single ‘Bad Romance’ at the show, 600 thousand people tried to connect at the time and the site crashed. Nowadays 70% of the shows are on live, but at the time it was something new. Lady Gaga’s fans who are now interested in fashion created an unbelievable ‘desire’. The show is where the connection between the designer and the audience take place and when this moment happens the desire of clothing is created. 

VK: When did you first interact with fashion?
NK: Because my father was a diplomat, our family lived in Paris. In the 60s my mother was a ‘modern woman’ who liked to shop at Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. My mother used to change her clothing 4th times a day and enjoyed the time of doing this in the morning, mid-morning, dinner, afternoon tea and banquet. But my father is the one who always preferred to wear the suit. The fashion he chose reflects a lot on him. I was mostly influenced by my mother who had many interests in fashion. Before my mother died, she chose to wear Alexander McQueen for her death bed, and I even photographed her ‘Vogue’ once.

VK: Is the sleek suit you are wearing today something like a uniform to you? 
NK: Of course, I only wear denim when I work. I have think about what to wear. ‘Today’s John Galliano’s shooting day, he must be wearing this, and the model should be wearing...’. So what I thought is ‘Just to get out of my home, do what I should be doing, don’t think too much, and do what everyone knows about the look and it’s done!’. One of my client is Saville Row’s ‘Kilgour’ and that helps a lot.

VK: Let’s go back to the exhibition. You wanted to open the public’s eye, and today’s fashion rapidly changes. What do you think about this?
NK: What do you think?

VK: As I knew the world through the fashion magazines and as a magazine columnist, I am used to the ‘long form’ articles. It took me a year and a half to understand the hashtag language for example. It wasn’t that the language of the ‘tool’ was a problem, it was the time to adapt with the changes.
NK: It’s true. Show Studio is a site which aims for the ‘long form’ contents. We publish essays, stories, a thoughtful interview and more. We used to be the ‘important source’ among the variety of Fashion colleges including Central Saint Martins. People usually read our essays and watch the 1 hour long ‘Panel Talk’. As short and quality information were needed, what we needed was something new which we could get into it, there should be new ways to find other vision.

VK: What inspired you to become a photographer?
NK: When I was working on ‘Skinhead’, I was using small cameras. Photos were taken by a fixed focus flash mounted camera. Apart from the need to print them, it was similar as taking a photo with mobile phones. Every image tells ‘some kind of a story’. It’s one of the many ways to communicate. Over the decades taking photos with quality techniques existed and became available for everyone. No one will say snapshot is bad. What I think about the photo is, it’s like a ‘Peculiar Beast’.

VK: What an interesting comparison!
NK: The reasons I exhibit and run the Show Studio is to expand the photography territory. Lots of photos are misunderstood. I don’t know how they are made and it’s same for the image making and fashion. Some people say by ‘retouching’ an image, it changes the reality. But photo itself produces my visions which lead to change the reality. If the basics of being an image creator is to ‘show what you cannot see’, it means this way is whatever I want to do. My desire is to take the ‘best photos’. A desire to take a ‘better’ photo is always in my mind.

VK: What is a better photo to you?
NK: If I was a singer, I would get a voice coaching lesson, if I was an actor, I would concentrate on understanding the concept of the work. But as an image maker, improving technically is not something easy. Which is a territory of awakening and intuition to make it perfect. Preparing through variety of research, it’s about ‘feeling’, and not ‘seeing’. An image is taken when the shutter is closed or the shutter is flashed which no one can see. It’s about looking into the future. That’s why my photos are about the future and not my experience.

VK: A photographer is the one who looks at the world through the view finder, what do you think when you are taking a photo?
NK: The work is about to take a moment which people and I can’t see. The process of taking a photo includes your emotion, desire and the energy around the nature. And all the process of making an image is a mystery. Surely the way I expressed is by the ‘sound of language’ so everything should be looked at harmoniously. The work I’m doing is expressed through the language of sound and not through the language of the vision. I don’t say ‘it sounds right’ and ‘look right’. It’s about finding the ‘melody’, and not dissonance.

VK: An art director once said to me that “what we need in the ocean of fashion is to stand out” and another fashion designer said that “in the ocean of fashion, I’m looking for that one person who will wear my clothes.” What are you doing in the ocean of fashion?
NK: I’m showing one’s dream. McQueen wanted to express himself in all sorts of ways, and I couldn’t show everything about his work ‘visually’. He loved his job, and I loved the way I expressed it. It’s same for Yohji Yamamoto, my work titled the ‘Red Bustle’ shows his world or work. My work is to show one’s world. Not by the vision which you can’t see through the eyes.

VK: I’ve now become more curious about your ‘next step’. Can you share your next vision? 
NK: Our desire will open our future. I want to show which people can be immersed in. It could be a virtual model. An image can be connected through variety of ways, by not looking through a flat image but by looking by the wall around me and to go into it. And the image changes the people. It’s not something passive, but it’s something you can see actively. You can see many comments through the internet. And most of the comments are shown by ‘texts’, but this image could react to variety of people’s thoughts and can be changed.

VK: That’s an amazing futuristic story!
NK: The exhibition in 2009 had three of Naomi Campbell’s statues which were made of polystyrenes and could be used freely to the audience though the Show Studio website and communicated lively. It was a system where if someone in Russia draws with red paint, the one in America could carry on with writings. It was the way people could communicate visually. If the way was to look at one’s work passively, it will be something active in the future.

VK: Your aspiration for utopia and the works you create seem to be very closely connected. How can this world become a better world?
NK: As an image maker, this exhibition was the place where I could show my belief. I tried to show some anger, and worry inside me. I do not think every woman should be looked as one of a ‘figure’, ‘race’ or ‘colour’. I am angry that the brands and companies still reject using black models for the campaign and catwalks. So it is important to show my vision to fix this. For example, a disabled a man who were born without either arms or legs are still ‘valued’. But the ‘positive’ or ‘aspiring’ images of disabled are rarely seen as an art. I show one’s attractive characters through an image. It’s one of my way to express in this world of ‘injustice’.

VK: What is a beauty to you?
NK: Everyone has a moment when they are hugely loved by their parents. Yes, there may be some who have not missed out on this, but most parents have a moment when they think that the existence of their child is the most beautiful thing in the world. This is their truth.  But why do they forget about everything and say, ‘only they are pretty’. If one wants me to walk on the street with my eyes closed and look for the first beauty, I’m sure I could find one. We all have beautiful lives, and we need to show it. Either the curve of the hair, the shape of eyebrows, flesh or the length of figure are different, you can find what you like.

VK: Does the exhibition finish with this rather ‘political’ view?
NK: No, not yet. The 3D scanned Kate Moss figure comes out next. It is amazing that an ‘object’ could be produced through 3D scanning. German’s Nymphenburg, a pottery company, made this statue. From some point, fashion became one’s desire and envy, which is not much different from a girl from the farm who dreamed by looking at the picture on the ceiling of a huge Catholic church. From some point, an image creates a surprisingly huge desire. Kate Moss is the icon of variety of age group and her style and works are respected. She is probably the most photographed woman in the world and a person who has been seen on the billboard and from your homes for many many years through different works she has done. Although she was attacked by the press and paparazzis, she managed to stand up again. I hope that lots more ‘conversations’ are created through her statue.

VK: So how does the exhibition finish and this is the message behind the show? 
NK: The show moves on to the moving video clips. Fashion film became the most important reason for me to start Show Studio. The clothes are created for moving, and if one who makes the clothes think about its movement, sound and the shape, then I think that a moving video clip can express more things. For 100 years, we showed fashion though images. Famous people were doing all this, and from now on we should agree that we could produce more beautiful works through films.

VK: Is fashion and your works, the important themes that penetrate throughout the exhibition?
NK: Every work I did is a discussion about the fashion, and fashion is a tool which can show my opinions. Fashion is the most democratic form. Everyone has their own taste of clothing and choice to buy what they like. An autocratic state firstly regulated public’s clothing and hair styles, as it’s the basic form of suppression. Fashion is always the most important subject to me.

All images courtesy of Nick Knight

Romantic Figure SIMONE ROCHA, 시몬 로샤

A MODERN FORM OF FEMININITY. 대조적인 아름다움은 완벽한 밸런스에서 나와요. 수공예적인 디테일과 현대 제작 기술이 만나 컬렉션을 창조할 때 모던한 형태의 여성미로 완성돼요." 


시몬 로샤 Simone Rocha

센트럴 세인 마틴의 MA 졸업 작품 쇼로 데뷔한 시몬 로샤. 올해로 데뷔 7년차를 맞이한 시몬은 바쁜 나날들을 보내고 있다. 2살된 딸 발렌타인 밍이 태어난 이후 완전히 다른 삶의 패턴을 만들어가고 있고, 2016 영국을 대표하는 브리티쉬 여성복 브랜드 디자이너 상을 수상하는 영예를 거머쥐기도 했다. 올해 2월에는 런던에 이어 두번째 플래그쉽 매장을 뉴욕에 오픈하며 본격적인 글로벌 행보를 시작했다. 뉴욕 매장 오픈에 한껏 들뜬 시몬과 함께 런던에서 나눈 대화를 소개한다.

© Eoin Mcloughlin

© Eoin Mcloughlin

자신만의 색을 가진 디자이너

Q. 런던의 마운트 스트리트(Mount Street)에 자리한 첫 번째 플래그십에 이어 뉴욕 플래그십 오픈까지 좋은 소식이 이어지고 있어요. 뉴욕 매장은 어떤 곳인가요?
A. 뉴욕 소호의 우스터 스트리트(Wooster Street)에 매장을 열었어요. 오픈을 앞두고 여러차례뉴욕을 오갈정도로 많은 애정과 열정을 담아준비했어요. 매장은 다양한 아이디어가 퓨전처럼 혼합된 곳인데, ‘로맨틱’함에 대한 나만의 정의를 모 던한 형태로 구성하고 싶었어요.

Q. 좀 더 구체적으로 매장을 묘사해주세요.
A. 매장 안은 견고하지만 부드러운, 섬세하지만 격렬한 대조가 확실하게 드러나도록 했어요. 컬렉션의 모든 요소를 매장에 적용하고 싶었죠. 아크릴 유리로 된 디스플레이 큐브나 가구 그리고거대한 새장을 연상시키는 조형물위 레드 망사와 플로럴 패브릭 모두 컬렉션을 통해 선보이던 요소들이에요.

Q. 그것들은 시몬 로샤의 시그너처이기도 해요. 같은 소재를 반복적으로 사용한다는 게 지루할 수도 있는데, 브랜드를 모던하게 이끌어가는 자신만의 노하우가 있나요?
A. 시그너처 특징은 매 컬렉션을 더욱 견고하게 하는 요소예요. 아크릴 유리와 플라 스틱, 자수와 장식적 요소는 물론 테일러링을 비롯해 패브릭과 실루엣의 상호 작 용은 매 시즌 컬렉션의 중심을 잡아주는 역할을 해요.

Q. 당신의 컬렉션에는 매우 독특한 당신만의 로맨틱한 감성이 있어요. 한결같다고 해야 하나. 하나의 연속선을 이어가는 무드가 있죠. 관중을 향해 당신이 만들어가는 이 이야기는 어떻게 발전해가나요?
A. 나는 팀과 함께 런던 스튜디오에서 매 시즌 컬렉션을 개발(Develop)하고 진보(Progress)시키기 위해 부단히 노력하고 있어요. 우리가 특히 집중하는 건 소재 개발과 제작 과정이에요. 새로운 아이디어와 기술적 시도를 통해 늘 도전하고 있죠.

Q. 런던 스튜디오에 있던 프랜시스 베이컨(Francis Bacon)의 회화 시리즈 세 점 이 런던 마운트 스트리트 매장에 걸려 있는 걸 보고 무척 인상 깊었던 기억이 나요. 뉴욕 매장에는 루이즈 부르주아(Louise Bourgeois)의 작품이 걸려 있다고 들었어요. 이렇게 매장에 작품을 거는 특별한 이유가 있나요?
A. 나에게 영감을 주는 것들이니까요! 아름다운 작품과 이에 영감을 얻어 시작한 컬렉션이 한 공간에 함께한다는 건 정말 흥분되는 일이에요. 매장은 나의 이야기를 들려 주는 곳이에요. 이곳은 예술, 가족, 자연, 아일랜드와 아시아를 오가는 나의 모든 영 감 요소가 매장 디자인과 디스플레이를 통해 계속 표현되는 공간이 될 거예요.

그녀의 감성이 모여 완성되는 컬렉션

Q. 당신에게 가장 큰 영향을 미치는 영웅이 있나요?
A. 루이즈 부르주아요. 그녀의 작업은 무척 아름답고 그와 동시에 아주 개인적이기 때문이죠. 

Q. 가장 좋아하는 박물관이나 갤러리는 어디인가요?
A. 런던의 하우저 앤드 워스(Hauser & Wirth) 갤러리를 아주 좋아해요. 이곳에는 로니 혼(Roni Horn), 에바 헤세(Eva Hesse), 루이즈 부르주아 같은 작가들의 작품을 기획전으로 전시하고는 해요. 가끔 갤러리를 찾아 작품을 보고 있으면 내 안의 다양한 감성이 또 하나의 영감으로 저장돼요. 이것이 바로 컬렉션을 만들어 가는 제 원천이에요.

Q. 가장 좋아하는 꽃은? 당신에게는 야생화로 가득한 초원이 잘 어울려요.
A. 제일 좋아하는 꽃은 모란이에요. 아름다운 정원이 있는 집에서 살고 있어 행운이 라고 생각해요. 그곳에서 보내는 시간을 너무 사랑해요. 런던 컬럼비아 플라워 마켓에도 가끔다녀와요. 토요일마다 열리는 이마켓에서 집안을 가득채울만큼 꽃을 한아름 사오죠. 하지만 정말 최고는 아일랜드를 방문할때 찾는 시골풍경과 자연이죠. 며칠씩 여행을 떠나기도 해요.

Q. 당신의 아이리시 배경은 컬렉션마다 잔잔하게 울려 퍼지는 또 하나의 브랜드 정체성이기도 해요. 아일랜드는 당신에게 어떤 곳인가요?
A. 나의 다양한 컬렉션에 정말 서로 다른 방법으로 영향을 미치는 중요한 배경이에요. 그곳의 전통과 문화에서부터 아일랜드 서쪽 해안가에 자리한 아란 섬(Aran Islands) 여성들이 옷을 입는 역사적 배경, 그리고 나의 어린 시절 학교 유니폼까 지 추억이 정말 많아요. 이것들을 토대로 텍스타일을 개발하기도 하죠.

Q. 2017 S/S 컬렉션의 영감은 무엇인가요? 주목할 디테일이나 이야기가 있다면요?
A. 2017S/S 컬렉션은 아일랜드국립갤러리(NationalGalleryofIreland)의 ‹유니폼› 전시에서 많은 영감을 받았어요. 사진가 재키 니커슨(Jackie Nickerson) 의 사진 시리즈 ‘지형(Terrain)’이 국립 갤러리의 영구전 작품과 함께 전시돼있었어요. 재키의 사진에는 다양한 남아프리카 국가 농부들의 모습이 등장해요. 많은 인부들이 그의작업에 필요한 여러가지 모던한물품을 들고있다는사실이 클래식한 초상화와 대조를 이루며 눈길을 끌었어요. 이런 대조적 모습과 워크웨어, 유니폼이라는 아이디어들이 이번 컬렉션에 큰 영향을 미쳤어요.

Q. 당신 컬렉션에는 언제나 강하면서 동시에 로맨틱하고 우아한 감성이 담겨 있어요. 하지만 말처럼 쉽지 않은 일이라고 생각해요. 섬세하고도 완성도 높은 퀄리티를 위한 자신만의 노하우가 있나요?
A. 밸런스요! 대조적인 아름다움은 완벽한 밸런스에서 나오니까요. 그리고 이 밸런스 는 컬렉션에서 필수적인 부분이에요. 남성성과 여성성의 대조라고도 할 수 있죠. 

글/ 여인해
사진/ Simone Rocha, Eoin Mcloughlin 제공

이 글은 <Boon the Shop> 매거진 SS17호에 실린 글입니다.

Creative Greed of CRAIG GREEN, 크레이그 그린 인터뷰

"We start really far away from what we were working on the season before but naturally it always goes back into a similar energy. I think consistency is important, especially when it’s our aesthetic. 컬렉션의 시작점은 지난 시즌과 멀고 다를 수 있지만, 자연스럽게 유사한 에너지를 품게되는 것 같아요. 지속성은 중요해요. 왜냐하면 우리만의 미학이니까. "
Photo by Bruno Staub

Photo by Bruno Staub


크레이그 그린 Craig Green

크레이그 그린은 현재 영국에서 주목받는 디자이너 가운데 한 명. 2013년 런던 컬렉션으로 데뷔한 그는 졸업 후 5년 만에 패션 어워드에서 ‘2016 영국 남성복 디 자이너상’을 수상했다. 구조적·입체적인 디자인으로 자신만의 브랜드 아이덴티티를 확고하게 만들어가는 그는 영국을 대표하는 디자이너로 성장하고 있다. 

'2016 영국 남성복 디자이너상'을 수상한 크레이그 그린(Craig Green). 센트럴 세인트 마틴의 MA 과정 졸업 이후 5년 만에 그의 컬렉션은 영국을 대표하는 브랜드로 성장했고, 런던 패션 위크의 가장 핫한 쇼로 주목받고 있다. 지극히 남성적인 워크웨어(Workwear)도 그의 손을 거치면 로맨틱한 프린트를 입게 되고, '보호'를 상징하는 각종 스트랩은 오래전부터 그를 드러내는 브랜딩 역할을 하고 있다. 크레이그 그린 컬렉션을 향한 패션 지지층이 날이 갈수록 두터워지는 이유는 모두가 그의 성장 과정에 함께 하고 있으며, 작업 하나하나에 공감하기 때문이다. 캣워크 쇼를 마치고 생산 과정에 한창 바쁜 날을 보내고 있는 크레이그 그린을 런던에서 만났다.

런웨이에 펼쳐진 아름다운 남성복

Q.  지난 1월 런던 패션 위크 맨즈에서 선보인 2017 F/W 컬렉션은 기대 이상이었어요. 당신만의 히어로 피스를 꼽는다면 어떤 룩인가요?
A. 카펫 룩요. 기술적으로 흥미로운 시도였고, 결과적으로 수도사를 연상시키는 로브(Robe) 이미지가 마음에 들어요. 인도 공장을 몇 차례나 오가며 위빙 작업을 체크했어요. 보머 재킷의 레터 패치에서 시작해, 영국 펍에서 흔히 볼 수 있는 카펫, 포르투갈과 터키의 타일 건축물 패턴을 본떠 제작했죠. 남성적인 심벌은 아름답다는 소리를 못 들어요. 그래서 그걸 더 낭만적으로 묘사하고 싶어요.

Q. 이음새도 없이 펄럭이던 카펫 룩이 바이어들을 위한 쇼룸에서는 ‘입을 만한’ 룩으로 완성된 모습이 인상적이었요.
A. 하하. 마치 카펫 위에 누워 있다가 그걸 입고 일어나기로 하듯 카펫과 하나가 된 남성을 표현하고 싶었어요. 극도의 비쥬얼을 선보이기 위해 고민하지만 그것은 옷으로서 입을 수 있는 룩이어야 해요.

Q. 매 시즌 당신만의 색깔이 묻어나고 그것이 또 계속해서 진화하고 있다는게 흥미로워요. 새로운 걸 선보여야 한다는 부담감 속에서 어떻게 지속성을 유지할 수 있죠?
A. 매 시즌 지속적인 비젼을 유지하지 않는 브랜드는 상상조차 할 수 없어요. 하지만 의식적인 건 아니예요. 컬렉션의 시작점은 지난 시즌과 멀고 다를 수 있지만, 자연스럽게 유사한 ‘에너지’를 품게 되는 것 같아요. 지속성은 중요해요, 왜냐하면 우리만의 미학이니까.

Q. 크레이그 그린 브랜드의 중심에는 무엇이 있나요? 브랜드의 시그니처가 있다면요?
A. 최근에 ‘퍼머넌트 컬렉션(Permanent Collection)’을 개발했어요. 브랜드의 미학을 염두에 두고 남성들이 어떻게 우리의 옷을 입는지를 고민한 거예요. 예를 들어 내가 생각하는 가장 이상적인 남성들의 옷장 속에는 버버리의 ‘트렌치’와 바버의 ‘왁스 재킷’이 있어야 해요. 거기에 크레이그 그린 ‘워크웨어’ 재킷이 함께했으면 하는 게 궁극의 바람이고요.

Q. 워크웨어 재킷이라면?
A. 누빔 디테일의 라인이 돋보이는 기본 재킷요. 겉에 포켓이 있어요. 가장 클래식한 핏을 완성하기 위해 이탈리아 공장과 긴밀하게 작업해요. 퍼머넌트 컬렉션에서는 남성들의 옷장 속에서 중요한 옷이 될 수 있도록 하고, 캣워크 쇼는 극단적이고 현실 도피적인 룩으로 작업해요. 브랜드 안에서 두 부분을 동시에 개발하는 셈이죠.  

Q. 매 시즌 컬렉션 작업을 어떻게 시작하나요?
A.  브랜드 중심에는 늘 워크웨어와 노동력, 그리고 글로벌화한 세상 속에서 더 많은 사람이 같은 걸 향유하는 삶을 로맨틱하게 조명하려는 욕구가 있어요. 대부분 쇼를 준비하기 전 우리를 이끄는 원동력은 주변의 모든 것에 대한 ‘반응’이고, 이것을 토대로 하나의 무드를 만들어가요. 그리고 논의를 이어가죠. 보통 벽에 컬러 블록을 붙여놓고 그걸 기반으로 옷으로 완성하는 작업을 해요. 아마도 사람들이 늘 알아보는 모노톤의 컬러 블록은 여기에서 비롯된 것일 거예요. 

Q. 크레이그 그린이 전하는 메시지에는 늘 입체적인 형태가 등장해요. 당신에게 중요한 요소들인가요?
A. 졸업 작품 쇼는 전부 다 3D 입체 조형물이었어요. 모델들이 입은 옷은 그저 몸을 가리기 위한 형태에 지나지 않았죠. 주인공은 옷이 아니라 조형과 구조를 통해 보여주고자 하는 비전이었어요. 시작이 그랬던 만큼 우리 브랜드의 DNA안에 깊숙히 내재되어 있어요. 컬렉션을 작업할 때도 모델들에게 옷을 입히고 다시 재단하거나 공장에서 온 미완성된 옷을 다시 재구성해요. 쇼를 앞둔 마지막 순간까지도 무언가를 자르거나 재부착할 정도예요.

Q. 당신의 컬렉션에는 ‘기능(Utility)’과 ‘형태(Form)’가 공존하는 게 흥미로워요.
A. 맞아요. 처음부터 제 컬렉션은 ‘종교’와 ‘워크웨어’의 관계를 조명하는 것이었어요. 하나는 ‘영혼’을, 다른 하나는 ‘육체’의 기능을 수행하기 위한 옷의 형태죠. 그래서 옷의 기능을 바라보는 것이고, 동시에 기능적으로 보이지만 아무것도 하지 못하는 점을 주목한거예요. 예를 들어 벨트와 스트랩 등은 어떤 기능도 하지 않거나, 또는 옷의 룩을 완전히 변형하는 도구가 되기도 해요. 그렇게 스트랩을 통해 완성된 룩에는 오래도록 전해 내려온 기술로 발현된 아름다움이 있어요.


"There’s always that idea of taking something that isn’t so beautiful like the symbols of masculinity and trying to romanticise that idea in some kind of a strange way. 남성적인 심벌은 아름답다는 소리를 못 들어요. 그래서 그걸 더 낭만적으로 묘사하고 싶어요."

새로움에 대한 발견, 그리고 표현

Q. 그러면 어떤 식으로 옷에 브랜딩을 표현하나요?
A. 우리에게 브랜딩은 ‘끈(String)’ 이에요. 단순한 셔츠 뒷면에도 스트링 디테일이 들어가요. 일종의 미니멀한 브랜딩이죠. 스트링 안에 작은 금속을 넣어 고정해요. 그런 면에서 일종의 주얼리 같기도 하죠.

Q.  누구나 알아볼 수 있는 당신 컬렉션의 힘은 곳곳에 디테일로 자리하고 있는 이런 형태에서 나오는 것 같아요. 매 시즌 새로움은 어떻게 더하고 있나요?
A. 전 시즌 컬렉션에 대한 반응이죠. 예를 들어 2014 F/W 컬렉션에는 핸드페인팅한 거대한 천 조각을 과장되게 작업해 로맨틱함을 표현했어요. 2015 S/S 컬렉션에는 블루 컬러와 깃발이 등장했고, 미니멀한 룩을 선보였죠. (당시 폭발적인 반응을 불러 일으켜, 이후 스트릿 패션 룩을 장악한 컬렉션) 2015 F/W 컬렉션에는 구멍 뚫린 점퍼가 등장했고, 밀리터리와 아우터 웨어 등 남성성에 초점을 뒀어요. 2016 S/S 컬렉션에는 실크와 가죽 룩에 레이스 디테일을 통해 ‘보호’에 대한 부분을 재조명했어요.

Q. 말하자면 대화 같은 건가요?
A. 맞아요. 스튜디오 안에서 오가는 대화를 통해 좋아하는 것을 공유하고 흥미로움을 좇다가 완성되는 이야기 같은 거예요. 게다가 퍼머넌트 컬렉션이 있으니, 매 시즌 새로운 컬렉션을 통해 더 자유롭게 표현할 수 있는거죠. 

Q. 매장에 론칭하는 2017 S/S 컬렉션도 소개해주세요.
A. ‘깃발’을 모티프로 삼은 이번 컬렉션은 어딘가에 속한다는 상징성을 주시했어요. 예를 들어 스카우트에 속했던 어린 시절 흉측한 색상의 스카프를 매야 했던 추억을 떠올렸죠. 스카프 색상과 디자인은 소속된 지역을 상징했는데, 여기에서 영감을 얻어 컬러풀한 스트라이프 디테일의 스카프를 만들었어요. 그리고 표백 과정을 통해 채도를 낮췄어요. 일부러 손으로 작업해 채도를 높이거나 낮추는 상반되는 룩을 만들었죠. 여기에 가족을 연상시키는 패치워크 담요도 등장하고, 캣워크의 마지막에는 남성들이 입은 의상의 뒤를 다 재단해 또 다른 깃발을 연상시켜요.

Q. 처음에 등장하는 핀스트라이프(Pinstripe) 소재의 룩도 무척 흥미로워요.
A. 모든 남성들이 착용하는 또 하나의 유니폼이지만 우리는 한번도 작업해보지 않아서, 이 소재로 작업을 해봤어요. 일하는 남성들의 슈트에 자주 쓰는 소재를 이용해 우리는 ‘사람 깃발’을 만들듯 작업했어요. 실루엣은 침대 위에서 입을 법한 파자마 룩이고요.

Q. 패션계가 요동치는 요즘, 런던은 어떤가요?
A. 런던은 언제나 흥미로운 도시지만, 최근에는 분명 변화하는 에너지가 느껴져요. 큰 브랜드 대부분이 런던을 떠나고 신진 디자이너들의 활약상이 돋보이고 있어요.

Q. 2016년 영국 남성복 디자이너로 선정되었는데, 기분이 어때요?
A. 쇼킹했어요! 영국 패션 협회의 <GQ> 펀드 수상자로 호명되었을 때도요. 사람 깃발과 사람 카펫을 만드는 우리가 그런 큰 상을 받을 거라고는 전혀 예상 못했어요.

Q. 가장 존경하는 멘토는 누구인가요?
A. 지금은 고인이 되신 루이스 윌슨 교수요. 패션에 대해 아무것도 모르고, 패셔너블하게 드레스업하지도 않았고, 패션 피플 같이 행동하지도 않는 나에게 교수님을 만난 것과 센트럴 세인 마틴의 석사 과정은 모든 것의 시작이었어요.

Q. 일하지 않을 때는 어떻게 시간을 보내나요?
A. 런던 북서쪽에서 어릴 때부터 살았는데, 이곳은 초록으로 뒤덮인 아름다운 곳이예요. 일 때문에 동쪽인 해크니로 향하지만, 이곳에서 며칠이라도 벗어날 수 있어 좋아요. 친한 친구들이 여전히 동네를 지키고 있고요. 마치 런던에서 이중 생활을 하는 것 같아요.

Q. 가장 행복한 순간은요?
A. 일할때요.

글/ 여인해
사진/ 크레이그 그린 제공, Bruno Staub

이 글은 <Boon the Shop> 매거진 SS17호에 실린 글입니다.