On a day with 35 degree temperatures, the cool respite of Neil Barrett's new purpose Zen concrete building, complete with the sound of birds and just the right amount of air conditioning, was welcome. The show notes talked of this building having 'been designed around the collection'. Not in theme, but in that literally it had been built at the same time as this collection.
The show opened with an electronic soundtrack spelling out the letters M-U-S-I-C - and Neil Barrett's iconic stripes arrived on the runway in silver. Technical and industrial, this saw the label leave last season’s expressive style of eighties London for a purist rendering of the building blocks that make up this house. The show notes talked of 'an evolution, inspired by the past, to invent the future'. The minimalism of the mid-nineties was also cited as a key reference point. Khaki utility gear was patched and scored with geometric takes on military insignia. Women walked in black chiffon shirts with fully-fashioned tailcoats.
The show notes also talked about the minimalist master, Donald Judd, and how 'an echo' of his ideology could be found in both the collection’s 'Judd-esque geometrics' and the building. A blue, inky jacket looked like a view of waves from beneath an ocean and was also, in part, inspired by Judd’s painterly treatment of fabric. The accessory of choice was the bucket hat. The neckline of choice for women was the asymmetric, one-shouldered line. Both elements are key components of the mid-nineties look. As a muted mix of the nineties anthem Born Slippy, and a session of other hedonistic house(hold) anthems closed the show, this house's late 20th century DNA saw the collection cement Barrett’s 'own inherently personal vocabulary of clothing'. Very much feeling like a commemorative collection, one looks forward to seeing what building blocks he will place on top of these foundations going forward.