From suede-leather jackets to varsity pea coats, Neil Barrett is king of the hybrid. Abstracting the traditional man’s wardrobe, Barrett pulls on sportswear and British formality, dipping into different iterations of modernism with each collection. This season, Rothko’s fields of graduating colour provided inspiration: “This idea that you can wear one garment but have two colours very subtly grading from one to another,” he explains.
For A/W14, Barrett has introduced his first unisex eyewear line in keeping with his amalgamated designs, fusing Wayfarers with mid-century silhouettes: “I wanted to create a new shape that was still recognisable,” explains Barrett. “Sunglasses are inset within another glass. It has that crossover of two pieces in one.” The range comes in contrasting matte and gloss finishes in blue, black and tortoiseshell, echoing the palette of the collection.
"Barrett pulls on sportswear and British formality, dipping into different iterations of modernism with each collection"
Other staples included Barrett’s take on the fur coat in black and brown, which was in fact a print from a photograph of a bear fur coat. “I decided that it looked too retro using real fur so we took a photo of my favorite fur and printed that on a technical fabrication… this is how a modern man can wear a fur coat.” This is worn alongside ombre wools and leathers in a vivid dégradé of brown and black; neoprene sweatshirts, pleated bomber jackets and slim-leg trousers with ribbed jogger detailing. The key symbol for the collection is the lightening bolt, which flashes and cracks across sweatshirts, Fair Isle knits and leather jackets, as though electrifying the model. “It is an aggressive, dark symbol. I think that it is very much a minimal, striking shape that reflects the minimal menswear that I do.”
Text by Mhairi Graham