For his Autumn/Winter 2017 Collection, Neil Barrett looks at the past – his own, and that of his label – and reinvents it for the twenty-first century. The foundation is tailoring: a Neil Barrett hallmark, and the root of proportion in men’s clothing. Barrett focusses his attention on traditional men’s suits, using them as a template for an exploration of proportion and volumes. Influenced by his art college years in 1980s London and his family’s tradition as military tailors, Barrett mixes different fits in a litany of tailoring and coating fabrics, to create new silhouettes for his man. They have an echo of the past, but feel resolutely contemporary.

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Oversized jackets and coats sport a dropped shoulder, but are tailored to fit perfectly around this volume, contrasting with drainpipe trousers or knit joggers. Slender jackets are worn above wide cropped pants. The notion of the hybrid is key: a hybrid silhouette, oversized or slim, is a signature. Garments fuse elements of sportswear and tailoring, cutting track pants in tailoring fabrics with press-stud side fastenings, or trimmed with a sports stripe, sometimes painted. There are also hybrid garments, cross-breeding long coats with puffer jackets, jean jackets and biker styles, as well as single and double breasted suit jackets. The two can be separated, but fused together they form a unique proposition. If tailoring forms one line of heritage, the other comes from the dynamic energy of the 1980s.

The street-style of the eras magazines and the style dubbed Buffalo is evoked in the flashes of bright colour, reinterpreting Nick and Barry Kamen’s look. Yellow, red, hazmat orange and cobalt combine with an otherwise restrained palette of black, grey and white. Underscoring the influence of the eras are lyrics from the songs of Echo & the Bunnymen and The Cure, alongside graphic treatments derived from tour imagery of Siouxsie and the Banshees, with permission from the artists to use and rework their original imagery. The show features their music on the soundtrack, alongside modern musicians influenced by their legacy. Contemporary counterparts, new iterations, like the clothes on show. Looking back at Neil Barrett’s heritage inspired him to combine mens and womenswear in a single show, for the first time in a decade.

The women collection underscores the fundamental themes of the menswear – new volumes in tailoring, pops of primary colour, a fusion of sports and suiting. The dropped shoulder is exaggerated above a drawn-in waist, while high slits allow slithers of brightly-coloured layers to show. Slashes under sleeves allow sensuous glimpses of skin under tailoring and shirting, adding a touch of the feminine to the quintessentially masculine. Mens and womenswear share fabrics: nylon is a key contrast to traditional tailoring in pinstripe and chalk-stripe flannels, alongside coating wools and cashmere and fluid viscose-wool gabardine. Knits add texture and pops of brilliant, saturated colour, elongated into dresses for women and match with shirts for unconventional “twinsets” for men.

They are executed in slick technical knit yarns, intensely hued, or in mohair – a punk stalwart here used for intricate intarsia designs. The brilliant shades of the knits are echoed in block-colour nylon shirts, and in details like hand top-stitching cross squared-toe boots, or straps of leather across trousers, shoes or utilitarian bags.

Source: FB/Neil Barrett
Courtesy of Neil Barrett