Of late, Neil Barrett has become the designer of choice for a clutch of male Hollywood stars who wear his clothes for their press junkets. Now Brad, Orlando, and Jake have indirectly returned the favor by inspiring himor, at least, giving him the confidenceto make a Fashion Statement on the runway.
For fall, that entailed a notion he labeled "dressed up in a beaten-up way." Substantial fabricsflannels, wools, velvets, even leatherswere washed within an inch of their lives and cropped into shrunken coats, jackets, and pants, to create a short-sleeved, short-trousered silhouette that's shaping up as one of the season's stories. The designer says it's always been part of his repertoire, but only recently has he had the guts to make such a meal of it. No wonderit's an uncompromising proposition.
Barrett, though, had fun with the idea. Pants had side-zipped seams or English "bovver boy" suspenders. Jackets came layered or subtly dip-dyed at the hem. The shrinkage created interesting textures and, more to the point, lent the clothes a worn-in feel that suggested a backstory. Barrett isn't alone in thinking such a thing is an asset (his old boss Miuccia Prada is of the same mind). But for those who prefer to look dressed up, rather than beaten up (or worn in), Barrett also showed a handful of tailored knitsa biker jacket, a belted cardigan coatthat were plain old chic.