Neil Barrett’s pragmatic approach to his work has created a new era of triumph for his fifteen-year-old label, which seems to go from strength to strength. Drawing on his men’s collection as per tradition – ‘it’s very much about feminising a masculine garment’ – Barrett’s Autumn/Winter 2014 women’s presentation had all the autumnal fade effects and fur prints he premiered in Milan in January, but this collection was his most expanded and extensive women’s offering to date. Wanting to add a sense of feminine fluidity and flair to masculine garments, Barrett let the lining of a biker jacket come out at the bottom and added pleating to it, effectively giving it a kind of feminine ruffle, while the facing on the front of a bomber jacket had been extended for that same effect. A belted, rayon-sleeved MA-1 turned inside out did a particularly good job at balancing the feminine with the masculine, its slightly nipped-in waist and orange vibrancy creating an elegant but ravey point of departure. (‘I did go to raves a long time ago. Around Somerset and Dorset,’ Barrett confessed. ‘Let’s just say they were thinking they were raves.’) With its instant coverability – female editors literally came up mid-interview to ask Barrett if they could order pieces straight away – the collection managed to outdo Barrett’s previous efforts in the modernist womenswear department, and had enough of its own identity from its corresponding men’s collection that it could easily have been shown on a Paris runway. Perhaps that’s the next step.
Drawing on his men’s collection as per tradition – ‘it’s very much about feminising a masculine garment’ – Barrett’s Autumn/Winter 2014 women’s presentation had all the autumnal fade effects and fur prints he premiered in Milan in January.