Neil Barrett's collections for women have tended to transpose his men's collections across the gender barrier with very little variation. The difference this time was that he had a female muse in mind. Binx Walton is a model of the moment, and when Barrett met her at the Christmas party he cohosted in London with Love magazine last December, he flipped his wig. Her hard-edged boy/girl thing was the very quintessence of the effect he wanted to achieve with his womenswear. And that's how Binx became the foundation of the collection Barrett presented in Paris today.
He softened Binx's hard edges a bit. The facing was extended on coats and jackets. A pleated ruff ran along the bottom of a biker jacket. Another leather jacket had a ruffled front. There were also pleats underneath a classic double-breasted jacket. Barrett wanted to add fluidity to classic masculine garments.
Still, it isn't really "soft" where his heart lies. The motif that dominated the collection was the lightning bolt, carried over from the men's collection. Barrett offered it as one big zap on a quilted blouson or as a techno Fair Isle pattern on knit. Continuing with the techno theme, there were op art spots and a photo-realist bear-fur print on sweatshirts. You could almost imagine a world where such an item might replace the real thing. That world already has a name—Gattaca. And Barrett's inside-out reconceptualizations of the classic MA-1 would make a perfect uniform.