craig green goes regina george for spring/summer 16
Returning to his joy of craft, Craig Green spring/summer 16 evolves out of the blood, sweat, tears and laughter of his studio.
Craig delights in the tangible, the real, and the work. "There are times in the industry when it feels like some people are doing it more for what it means than what it is, the ends rather than the means," he confessed when we last spoke at his studio. Craig is most at home in the craft. In the age of the celebrity designer, Craig revels in the means and he's at his happiest in his own world, a world that orbits art and fashion. "I just love making things, I've always loved making things," he repeats backstage. This love of making was at its most obvious with twisted nipple knots (#FreeTheKnots.) "Just before the show we discussed what they reminded us of and agreed that it's most akin to the tissue dispenser we have in the studio," he admits with a laugh. "They actually started off as holes initially, then we added fabric and bunched it, it developed through play." The resulting twist is far chicer than Mean Girls' own Regina George's exposed T-shirt but just as fun and free. Throughout, there was a romance and playfulness of design and texture. Even the quilting that has previously felt like armor was floaty and dreamy, much more like children's play mats rather than martial arts uniforms.
Ultimately, this collection was Green having fun. "This season was reminding myself of the reasons we do what we do. The campaign with Nick Knight helped. It's that freedom of just making things at our whim and fancy, it was so refreshing. We missed that," he confesses. It was missed no more.
This return to freedom provided a light summer breeze that swept through previous highs and pushed them further. The bright hues and accomplished palette play breathed fresh life into Craig's signature pieces. "The palette started with us playing with kite fabrics and romanticizing them in a certain way by adding movement," he explains. As the orange, green and yellow figures floated by the Victoria House show space, it mirrored a lazy weekend memory of a mid summer's sky. It was free. "Moving on from the spiritual elements of previous season, this was playfully dark," he adds with another smile. "For the sculptures this season, people have either seen them as operating tables or glory holes," he reveals. Interpretations of the show's theatre and peep show cut out reveal just as much about the voyeur as they do the wearer.
Speaking of wearers, spring/summer 16 saw women on his catwalk for the first time. "It was a decision that we made five days ago because the collection lended itself to it," he explains. "This doesn't mean we're going to have women in every show, but the casting was more mixed this season. It was freer and also, it was about honoring the womenswear customer that we have already. A lot of women wear the menswear now and we didn't expect that. It's great that garments can translate. Some of the pieces might even look better on women; they're certainly easier for some women to wear because they might be deemed risqué for men. That said, we showed every womenswear look on the men too, so it wasn't separate," he adds. As with everything Craig does, it felt so natural, so at ease.
This was a collection that didn't shock and didn't reduce the front row to tears, despite the combination of daydream looks and Max Richter soundtrack. Not every season can or should aim to leave the audience emotional wrecks. However, spring/summer 16 is rich in the poetry and drama that Craig has used to seduce the industry while serving a reminder of the beauty of his craftsmanship.
Text Steve Salter