Neil Barrett A/W 2019 Milan Fashion Week Men’s

Neil Barrett A/W 2019 Milan Fashion Week Men’s

Mood board: As the title of Barrett’s autumn/winter 2019 collection suggests, the conversations around cultural identity haven’t escaped the poured-concrete halls of his Milanese megalopolis. ‘Born in Britain’ is a display of both a personal identity and a political one. For his latest collection, Alessandro Sartori at Ermenegildo Zegna talked about diversity – a meeting of different people, each sharing space in the city. Barrett looked first to his native England, and then to its most symbolic subculture: punk. ‘What would it look like 45 years on? What is punk today?’ he asked backstage.

Sound bite: Born in Devon, Barrett moved to Italy after graduating from the RCA in the 1990s. After a decade working for Italian megabrands Gucci and Prada, he set up his label at the millennium. Today it is a global fashion brand with some 31 stores worldwide and this season marks the end of his second decade. ‘Most people when they get to 20 years, they do a sort of best-of, I’m not that type of character. I like to push myself forward. To always push yourself is a very modern thing,’ he said. Barrett always meditates on modernity. Here the clothes were faithful to his time-honed slim trousers and roomy coat silhouette.

Scene setting: Punk was a rebellious movement, fuelled by a desire to challenge and change. Barrett’s interpretation reflected the melting pot of British histories and cultures that have shaped the nation. Punk here stands as a symbol of authenticity. And valour. The military references and minimalist tailoring for which Barrett is known were punked. Tweeds and wools were ripped; prints clashing. Standout was a warped Prince of Wales check dinner suit. T-shirt graphics featured album cover artwork from fictional punk bands. The catwalk was lined with digital screens playing a bricolage of films showing cities alight at night. The pulsating, electro-moan of SHYGIRL’s ‘Want More’ set the whole thing off. §

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