"Neil Barrett should be better known than he is," said a fellow editor after the designer's presentation today. We'd agree with that. Barrett is a top-notch tailor, capable of synthesizing the trends without being obvious about it. For Fall, he's gone oversize as other designers have, cutting crombies, duffels, and even furs in the generous, rounded proportions of mid-century haute couture. "It's like taking XXXL men's sizes and cutting them back onto girls," he said of the process that lent the coats such dramatic shapes. They gave good profile as the models marched past in the Rue du Mail showroom. Sweatshirts and sweaters were scaled up too, and an engineered wool chalk-stripe dress had extra volume in back.
His suits, in contrast, remained streamlined. One pair of pants was made from a wool loomed together from a check and a tiny houndstooth. Somewhere around the knees the two patterns melted together. "It's my answer to embellishment," he said, "and it makes it harder to copy." The copy artists shouldn't even bother with a military coat designed so you can wear it over your shoulders without it slipping off. Its clever inner vest construction is High Street-proof.