Is the man of mode ready for a cape? Come Fall, his resolve will be tested.
Designers all over Milan have been draping cloaks over their models. In his
way, Neil Barrett did, too, though you could've missed them with a quick
look. The standout outerwear pieces at Barrett's renewedly strong show
("return to form" was on the lips of more than one editor) weren't
technically capes, rather military-inspired greatcoats, some with
leather-taped seams. But with their A-line cuts and high pockets, they
formed gentle bells around their marching soldiers, artfully suggesting the
incipient trend while remaining steadfastly approachable, even for a more
timid soul than the editors crowding the spectators' bench.
Slipping the sartorial mickey is a Barrett specialty. He is devoted to his
particular enthusiasms—ultra-precise tailoring, for one—but he works them
into an idiom that goes down easier than big-F fashion often does. You had
to peer closely (often more closely than a runway walk allowed) to see the
way he melted suiting patterns into one another down the length of a pant or
a jacket, merging houndstooth into chevron and Prince of Wales to tweed.
From afar, they just looked gray. The proverbial Man in the Flannel Suit is
in for a surprise when he gets his home.
There were cropped trousers in multiple variations, many cut so tight they
required ankle zips. (More forgiving versions had banded sweatpants cuffs.)
If the high-water theme was hammered home a time or two too many, it was
easy to forgive: the easier to see Barrett's covetable ankle boots.