Neil Barrett's A/W 13 collection was a rousing success, so it's natural that he was looking to capture the same vibe for S/S 14. While the stated inspirations were different - last season focused on Bauhaus, while this season looked at the work of Charles and Ray Eames - the bulk of the collection followed the same path, see the clean palette of black and white with an injection of red and the focus on graphic sweaters and luxurious, textured jackets. Still, that familiarity was no real problem - fashion too often fetishes the new for the sake of it - and made for pleasant viewing. Barrett had been looking forward in other, subtler directions, such as with his finishes and fastenings (he'd eschewed the humble button in favour of magnets and velcro).
That said, some of the strongest looks in the collection came when Barrett had cast off the shackles of yesterday and gone in a new direction. Those minimal overcoats with concealed scuba zip pockets felt fresh, while the neat, short shorts - a firm contrast from the baggy skater shorts we're seeing on other menswear runways - seemed new, but still true to Barrett given his tendency towards a tight-fitting, shrunken silhouette.
It's apt that Barrett seemed to be channelling the lumberjack shirt in this collection - see that striking blown-up plaid that decorated almost every look. That one menswear item, spawned from the grunge movement, has found its way into nearly everyone's wardrobe - whether in the form of a cheap vintage purchase or a designer rehasing of the look. Barrett's collection should have an equally wide appeal - it was perfectly constructed, but had a quiet, unobvious luxury that gave each piece an approachable feel.