Neil Barrett S/S 2017

Modern vintage minimalists in Milan

Mining the past but being very much in the present, Neil Barrett unveiled a powerful collection of contemporary menswear, which was a defiant counter blast to the maximalist, hyper embroidered clothes seen last weekend in London and at many of today’s Italian fashion labels.

Few people combine street with chic as successfully as Barrett who took a simple idea – intarsia – but brilliantly employed it in a whole series of revamped Sixties looks. A little like an early Beatles cover or a couple of characters from cult TV show Get Smart decided to go clubbing in Mykonos. “A little bit vintage to create some modern ideas,” smiled Barrett backstage.

Neil Barrett
Modern vintage at the Neil Barrett SS17 menswear show in Milan

Intarsia zigzags cut into nylon car coats; or laid down in pyramid shape on army shirts. While bold stripes cut diagonally across the chest of trim Aertex tops; or marquetry style slashes of bitter orange slid down neat knit sweaters. Frequently used as bold embellishment in haute couture, intarsia can get messy when used in ready-to-wear, but Barrett’s take was full of zest and energy. Staged in a bold neo-classical colonnaded courtyard – again modernized intelligently with a triple runway in minimalist white covered with see-through roof – this was a punchy statement of Milan hipster ready-to-wear at its best.