Bauhaus is an age old fashion inspiration. In just the last few seasons numerous designers have turned to the colourful German art movement for new ideas. So it seemed a shame that Neil Barrett declared it as his starting point for Autumn/Winter 2013. The designer has had such a stellar few seasons. After all that, was he going to resort to colour block clichés?
Thankfully no! Barrett stripped Bahaus back, toying with its modernist ethos, and producing what is undoubtedly one of his strongest collections yet (a tough accolade, give he's been on great form recently). The intention of the showcase was to go back to the aesthetics of Barrett's early work in the nineties, so minimalism and simplicity were central concepts. Any superfluous additions had been stripped away - fastenings such as buttons, velcro and zips had all be hidden - to leave the clothes alone to do the talking. And what clothes they were. Cut predominantly in Barrett's signature ultra-slim form, save from some oversized tops and outerwear, the pieces were designed to perfectly compliment and consider the male form. So the combination of top heavy sweaters and jackets with dropped shoulder seams with form fitting trousers accentuated the torso, while a practical yet luxurious palette of clean neutrals and inky dark tones ensured wide commercial potential. The pieces that symbolised the skill of this collection most clearly were the graphic sweaters - achingly simple, and so on point given that easy sportswear is selling like hot cakes, but also so beautiful and directional in their motifs and colour combinations.
In a city like Milan, where fashion can often seem clichéd or conservative to the point of being out of touch, Barrett's beautiful collection was a breath of fresh air. While it was impeccably executed, it was also perfectly in tune to modern men's tastes. In this climate, relevance, ahead of beauty, is key. Barrett's collection was both. You can't get better than that.