Barrett F/W 2017

Eighties new wave vibe inspired tailoring

Just in case anyone forgets in a moment obsessed with athleisure, the first steps in the meeting of active sportswear and tailoring were taken by none other than Neil Barrett some two decades ago. Give the man the credit he deserves.

That connection between casual and chic rippled through his latest collection – from his great grey chalk stripe suits – made with dhoti-style trousers with nipped knit ankles – to his side-stripe track pants shown with black tailored jackets, cut with tails, panels and large lapels.

Neil Barrett
There was a special connection between casual and chic as represented by great grey chalk stripe suits and side-stripe track pants

Barrett has always been a great tailor of the less is more kind. He knows how to cut a slim or, in this season, a boxier suit. But ever since Barrett realized that he needed to spice up his signature minimalism with pattern and color, he has become a major voice in contemporary men’s wear. After all, the modern customer wants bang for the fashion buck. So, whether his shoes have yellow ribbons or his leather jackets come in giant red and white zig zag patterns, Barrett confidently serves up a wide range of ideas for his loyal clients.

He rarely embroiders, but his intarsia play was brilliant – starring a half dozen cameos of Siouxsie Sioux of Banshees fame – sewn onto white shirts or stamped onto beige coats.

Neil Barrett
Half a dozen cameos of Siouxsie Sioux were sewn onto white shirts or stamped onto coats

“We asked Suzy about it and she was all for it. Love Suzy!” smiled Barrett, after a powerful and spiky show.

Though the heart of his collection is always the tailoring and in a winter season where every runway is full of long coats, hardly anyone cuts them better and more fluidly than Barrett. Stellar casting, cool music, a good show space and an upbeat vibe made this a highlight of this first full day in Milan.