There were no tears at the end of Craig Green’s show today. It would have been a hard trick to pull off twice. Besides, we’ve had six months to process the impact of his first solo catwalk show last June. But that isn’t to say that the collection he presented wasn’t mesmerizing; it was simply more pragmatic than Spring. Green cryptically described that show as “a silent protest.” Now, he said, “The silent protest has got louder.” You could put it another way: Spring was spirit, Fall is flesh.
The idea of the uniform lies heavy on menswear for Fall 2015, and Green was no exception to the rule of designers who are brooding this season on the meaning of uniforms. In his mind, it has to do with protection. The padding and layering of many of his looks created formidable silhouettes. Balancing them were simple white jersey tops grabbed and twisted into shape on the models’ torsos, then stitched like the seams on Frankenstein’s monster. “The most brutal way of fitting clothes,” Green was a little embarrassed to admit, but that was surely one way to convey the vulnerability he wanted as a counterpoint to the tough, structured outerwear. “Restriction and release” was his formula.
Similar reasoning meant the models walked shoeless. Never mind that finding the right shoes for these looks would present an expensive challenge, Green insisted that socks were more innocent (for the show at least). The knitwear was also making a statement about susceptibility. It featured a circular hole above the sternum. “The most vulnerable part of the body,” Green explained. “In cartoons, it’s where you see the soul flying away like a ghost.”
If this is the sort of thing that’s on Green’s mind when he’s designing a sweater, the sky’s the limit for conjecture about the rest of the collection. He described the color palette of red, navy, and green as “classical school colors,” and there were white cotton shirts with squared-off tails to compound the school uniform effect. But the way he structured his show, the red sat at the heart, with the other colors revolving around it, like they were protecting it. “Concealed power,” Green called it. So there was a picture bigger than the look-by-look cavalcade we were seeing on the catwalk. It was a dark picture, too. Listening to Green talk about his clothes, it wasn’t hard to detect a pessimistic streak. Maybe that’s what adds the poignancy to the beauty of his proposals. Maybe that’s what people sensed when they responded with tears last season. However that worked, Green’s sales tripled. So, concealed or not, there’s power in the poignant.