You could say that Neil Barrett farms one field, but he does it so well that he always gets a good crop. The seeds he sows are punk attitude and custom-made craft, and together they produce immaculate clothes with enough edginess to satisfy a growing global clientele. But the title of this season's collection"Visconti Punk"promised more than it ultimately delivered. The latter element was obvious in the loosely woven mohair sweaters and the studded leather jackets, biker vests, and shoes worn sockless. Visconti's aristocratic elegance was more elusive, merely implied in the formality of Barrett's signature tailoring.
Still, the designer managed to hone his proposition to its peak thus far. He softened his signature shrunken proportions so that even when trousers were cropped, they were more generously cut, as were the jackets. And the reductive precision of punk style meant that Barrett's layering (pinstripe waistcoat over gray sweater over white shirt) had a laser sharpness. He sidestepped into the nylon-shorts-with-tailored-top cul-de-sac that has peculiarly gripped Milan's imagination this season, but redeemed himself with a white jacket and waistcoat paired with zippered tan trousers. The formal upper and edgy lower were the quintessence of the Barrett ethos. And kudos to a soundtrack that ranged from an obscure Adam & the Ants track to the almost-forgotten Spear of Destiny. Ah, the memories.