Monday, June 20, 2011



Sunny models backstage, kinda angry cool on stage.
Neil Barrett Spring 2012

Neil Barrett is putting 2 Tone on revival. First impression of this collection and you hear yourself saying something like "I've seen this look before..." It was probably a year or two ago when these looks swept the runways and it was cool. Still is, I think and at Neil Barrett's Spring 2012 collection, the meeting of subcultures and attitudes, not to mention textures and designs, find a welcoming place in my book. 

Seems like the angst we've recently seen  at Burberry's gone viral and landed a cozy spot in Neil Barrett's impressive tailoring. Shrunken in size and almost lethal to look at, things go a little heavy in other aspects such as print and fabric. Leather was also recently christened as a material for Spring and here we see it doing its full potential: vests, jacket sleeves, hefty bower sandals and ribbed on super cool bags. I still see a lot of buyers for these looks, despite the abundance of such pieces. Take for example a biker vest that you'd mistake for another designer's doppelganger is possibly one of the easiest items to sell especially when it effortlessly punches up a t-shirt plus trousers plus shoes ensemble.

Barrett also sends down bullets of houndstooth raining down on wide-hipped trousers and slim suits, adding much awesome to otherwise common items. I also love how he does herringbone on pieces, making suits look deeper and thicker. With one look, the trousers' herringbone spiders down into rays and angles, achieving amazing graphic effect.  Surely what's brilliant at Barrett are the hybrids, army field jackets coming together with leather classics to form, really, the coolest of outerwear you could find. A tan trench coat meets its match with sleeves of black leather, a smooth onyx cotton jacket suited with an armor of muscular leather shoulders and sleeves, all brilliant. As Tim Blanks notes, the pairings were logical while others just didn't make it. But I think these were the shows hits, sublimely executed and a hundred times chicer and tougher than leaving them on their own and untouched.

One of my favorites

There are quiet moments at Barrett as well, when colors like dove gray, cream and khaki slip through the runway to ease an aggressive palette. Probably Adrien Sahores' look proved the lightest of the bunch, making it my favorite from the collection: an inked vanilla baseball jacket over a cream t-shirt and silky khaki trousers. To an extent, it's almost delicious.

Maybe not Neil Barrett's best work, but the tough guy looks and the rebellious mixing of almost everything makes for a cool collection and a brave effort. When you're not in the mood to go extremely light and elegant for Spring 2012, there's Neil Barrett to get the testosterone working. 


- Gerard

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