Neil Barrett is the king of the sweatshirt. And while he'd kept a spattering of them in his collection to satisfy his buyers, he'd largely swapped them for knitwear for A/W 15. The graphic star motifs we've seen before came weaved into wholesome white polonecks and military green chunky knits. Maybe it was the way he opened the show with a bomber layered over a formal coat, or maybe it was all the references to army surplus or punk, but this collection had a forcefully youthful energy that felt new. Sure, pull apart the collection and the slick, sharp outerwear will please even the most mature, serious shopper, but when styled up with those leather drawstring backpacks that riffed on sports day (and borrowed from a recent Burberry success) and Barrett's ode to the Dr. Marten boots, the collection had a insolent, irreverent spirit that made it feel modern.
Barrett isn't really a seasonal designer. He's nailed the garments and hues that work for him. At each show there's the expected palette of grey, black and white. There's the super skinny - almost too skinny - trousers and strong outerwear. His tweaks are minimal. This season the talking point was the outerwear that combined a khaki casual jacket with a formal black coat using needlepoint. Two in one. A clash of ideas and styles, just like the collection as a whole with its uniting of punk with military. Forward thinking but eminently wearable, those coats sum up the fusion of formality and ease that Barrett has built his brand on and banks on each season.