Freedom in Bondage
For as long as he’s been designing (but particularly for the last four seasons), Craig Green has been interested in that fundamental binary of freedom and imprisonment: in that interplay between the safety of armour and the bondage of restriction. Hence the dangling ties, the tightly pulled strapping, and the flowing samurai trousers that have become just some of Green’s rightly celebrated trademarks. It’s a unique aesthetic that’s won him many fans – not to mention a recent nod from London’s kingmakers, the BFC, who teamed with GQ to award Green their Designer Menswear Fund last month – and this season represents a gentle evolution of that style over the dramatic departure that the change-hungry might have yearned for.
Never Ending Story
Still, for those of us happy to see a designer craft his personal vision over several seasons and steadily develop something that feels absolutely theirs, this is another valuable chapter in Green’s beautifully articulated world. The opening chords were resoundingly liberated: tunic ensembles in mixed-media chalkstripe that were cut to reveal chests and arms, flowing like the rags of some Biblical seer clutching their worldly possessions in one of those densely patterned handkerchiefs that hung from their wrists. An imaginative leap, perhaps, but one vindicated by show notes describing the whole bedraggled odyssey as “an uncharted pilgrimage” – interestingly enough, Mrs. Prada sailed across similarly uncharted waters last season to similarly fruitful effect.
Then came another progression: patterning. Where the shades of last season were mostly ninja darks or sickly solids (the murky tones of the institution: a good fit with that collection’s fettered strait jackets), this time there were intricate patchworks of Eastern flavour and intense, technicolour rainbows bringing a streak of vitality into Green’s sometimes apocalyptic universe. Roping laced through metal eyelets was another prominent touchstone: monolithic swathes of fabric were either laced together corset-tight or left to unfurl at the shoulder and expose the legs like rippling sails. The final flourish? Garments of intense self-contradiction that covered the front and exposed the back save for a few deviantly cross hatched ties. Rest assured, the ranks of Craig Green’s cult can only swell further.