Even before the show began, the aviation theme was easy enough to guess. The location details were printed on a paperboard model plane (a few guests arrived with it assembled). The preshow music consisted of engine sound effects (ideal for inhibiting small talk). So the question remained: How would Christopher Raeburn, a designer who often reworks existing garments, get such an obvious theme off the ground? The collection, largely inspired by the desert "boneyards" in Arizona where thousands of decommissioned military aircraft are parked as they await their fate, was less about uniform than utility—particularly the outerwear, which came in breathable perforated mesh and parachutes repurposed as macs. The opening look, a leather bomber, benefited from thirteen woven "playing card" patches utilizing a heat-transfer technique developed in collaboration with Avery Dennison, the label-making behemoth. There were also sandy-hued Palladium sneaker boots and a floral print—a welcome counterpoint to the B-24 Liberators and F-4 Phantoms—that appeared atop a lightweight Japanese tech fabric. It was an altogether different statement than the two final looks, which reconfigured actual MIG fighter-pilot suits as laced jackets that will be produced at Raeburn's studio in editions of fifty. The accompanying backpacks, featuring similar contoured trussing, had the effect of biomorphic body extensions.
Most of all, nothing was aggressively militaristic; even the green leaned closer to fern than standard-issue olive. Raeburn's versatility—from integrating vintage and unconventional materials to welcoming a range of partnerships—combined with his interest in elevating everyday basics (the softly tailored merino wool suit jackets in sweatshirt gray will be an instant staple) speaks to a level of accessible innovation that appeals to retailer and customer alike. Could Raeburn be designing actual flight suits a few seasons from now? Sky's the limit.