Mood board: for his muscular A/W 2018 collection, the British designer revisited the heyday of the nineties, back when he was pulled into the Italian fashion world after graduating from the Royal College of Art. He spent time at Gucci and then went on to establish the codes of Prada menswear – helping to undo the fuss of suiting, and starting a new model for male dressing. Since launching his namesake label in 1999, Barrett has become known for lean, graphic minimalism. His latest offering began with research into the uniforms of masculinity – as gender norms of yore are elsewhere unravelling around us, the clothes were acutely traditional in their model machismo. But everything from the rigid blazers and pressed trousers of the classroom to the utilitarian opulence of army fatigues was reconfigured, re-mixed.
Best in show: archetypal staples, from the bomber to the trench, were treated with a couture attitude. Military, sports, street-wear and tailoring proportions were more playful than previous seasons. Coats and bomber jackets cocooned away from the body at the back; military trench coats were cinched at the waist to create an hour-glass silhouette. Stand out were the splicing together of classics; mackintosh and padded nylon blazers had a denim jacket back.
Scene setting: last June Barrett showcased his S/S 2018 co-ed show in the foyer of his newly built 538,200-square-foot HQ on Milan’s Via Ceresio. It took two years for architects Barbara Ghidoni, Marco Donati and Michele Pasini of Storage Associati to renovate the old electrical plant as an homage to graphical line. For A/W 2018 the space was lined in deep pile grey carpet woven with arrows to give the models direction.