LONDON United Kingdom — “A gathering of introspective dreamers.” That was Craig Green’s typically lyrical take on his tribe for Autumn/Winter 2016. But, as he spun his story after his show today, the dream grew steadily darker, angrier. Green defined his designs as uniforms for institutions, utility pushed to the limit with “throwaway clothing”, in a colour palette he called “sickly.” Drawstrings and elasticated waistbands evoked patients’ pyjamas. Back-tied tops echoed straitjackets. Were those institutions lunatic asylums? Or something worse? One of Green’s major themes has always been protection. Some models walked trailing padded pieces that looked like alien PE equipment — or punching bags. Others had hoods tightly drawstrung around their faces. “To keep out germs,” he said. In the light of that statement, the flocking on a jacket and pants might have been mapping a virus.
Green conceded that he is under a lot of pressure, the kind of pressure that comes with being a standard-bearer for the wayward creativity that defines London in the eyes of the world. That could help to clarify his own uneasy spin on Autumn 2016.
But another take might paint a much more benign picture: a palette not sickly but desert-toned in sands and khakis, the gentle volume of a hooded djellaba or paper-bag-waisted pants, the striped fabrics of North African nomads. There’s always been something poignant, idealistic in Green’s collections. An expansive Saharan mood seemed closer to that spirit than the prospect of an abandoned asylum. It also felt like a necessary new direction for him. He borrowed the definition of tailoring from the uniforms he loves, but he softened it. A two-piece “suit”, belted at the waist, was almost his version of a safari suit.
Green also pushed into new areas with his materials. Leather was a first. He said he wanted his clothes to look worn, tarnished, so he washed silks and leather, suturing hides of goatskin together with huge stitches. The barbarism wasn’t his best look, but at least there was the sense that he was responding to the accusations of sameness that crept into last season’s commentary. Less introspective, more outward-looking. Green is a fiercely, fearlessly original thinker who has scarcely started his career, so any news is good news. The fact that he introduced elegant structure to his clothing was further cause for celebration.