One couldn't help but feel the weight on Craig Green's shoulders on his behalf on entering Victoria House for his A/W 15 show, only his second solo outing out of the safety of the MAN umbrella. Yes, despite his lack of experience and tender years, Green has made quite the splash. Last season he had us all crying at the beauty of his collection, with some reviewers going as far as dubbing him the next Rei Kawakubo. No pressure then.
It was comforting therefore to see that Green hadn’t bowed to the pace and whimsy of fashion by trying to shock and surprise. In many ways this showing was the perfect continuation of and compliment to S/S 15 (Green has resolutely stated that he's not a seasonal designer - with a vision that strong, why would you deign to be?) The ethos and aesthetics were the same, the fabrics had just got cosier and sturdier - there was a successful introduction of neoprene. Indeed one of my favourite details was the way the soft classical music allowed you to hear the sound of the thick calico on those wide leg trousers brushing against itself as the models walk. Apt: Green's clothes appeal to all the senses. He is the total antidote to those surface-focused creatives who think only of viewer not wearer. Take the time to try on some of Green's pieces (they look just as great on girls as boys, speaking from personal experience), and you'll find that they cater more to those in them than those looking at them - the strap fastenings allow you to adjust them just so, while the fabric softens to embrace and protect the body. There becomes a secret code and relationship between wearer and viewer.
So back to this being business as usual. Well it was and it wasn't. It was expected but not predictable. It built on successes without appearing to play safe. Indeed, look twice at the collection and this was something completely new to what we've seen before. There was a new ferociousness, evident partly in those blood red hues but also in the focus on armour and protection - gilets resembled fencing vests while the extra wide trousers with multiple waistbands and exaggerated straps smacked of the kind of modern battlewear we see in action movies and computer games. Green used to be a boy scout and one wondered if those years of scraping knees and running free in the great outdoors had informed this collection; you couldn’t help but picture feral boys in the great outdoors, wrapped up in protective gear over close-fitting jersey pieces, scaling trees and play fighting. If last season was about pious living and purity then this was about adventure and taking chances. We'd gone from silent protest to action; there was a rawness and a certain aggression and forcefulness that felt new.
Speak to any buyer and they'll tell you that Green's great at knits. Sure his kimono pieces may attract the street style snappers but his navy ribbed numbers are quietly covetable. Today's knit came with a graphic circle cut out under the breast. They were part futuristic, part romantic and otherworldly. They pushed your eye to the sternum - 'the new erogenous zone?' one critic wondered. But it's appropriate that they emphasised the gut - that's the place in your body where you get that emotional feeling, that sense that your going to cry or scream or shout. That's the genius about Green's work - it sparks something guttural, something visceral. It has an inimitable magic (tell that to all the young design upstarts that are trying to capture it). This is work that comes from the heart. In that sense its brilliance is almost unexplainable, but that's what makes it so brilliant.