This season feels very much the right place and the right time to be Christopher Raeburn. That mid-nineties casual, technical, utilitarian feel for menswear seems ripe again for a high-fashion revival—although, of course, it never went away in the outside world. What gives contemporary British designers the edge is the utilitarian and military tradition of fabrications in this country, something that lends a literal weight of history to Raeburn's clothing.

British men have long worshipped at the temple of the revolutionary Italian designer Massimo Osti—his work for C.P. Company and Stone Island, in particular. Raeburn, for his part, has come to his own conclusions about technical wear through a childhood spent in the great outdoors, building camps and being in the cadets. "I learned to fly between 13 and 17," he said. "Although I was told that I would be too tall to be a Harrier-jump jet pilot at the time, so I didn't pursue that." Instead he's become a fashion designer with a hands-on knowledge of military and technical clothing.

He exploits that knowledge to the full this season, referencing the World War II British naval defenses and the Maunsell Sea Forts. In fact, old military maps are utilized both outside and inside his outerwear. Reappropriating surplus military fabrics to make contemporary garments is how Raeburn has made his name, but it's perhaps his development of new fabrics with Japanese partners that's most interesting now. At the other end of the scale, there is also his new working relationship with the traditional mill Hainsworth in Yorkshire. They are the people who produce the textiles for the British ceremonial guards' uniforms, and it was indeed Raeburn's distinctive red woolen outerwear that proved the standout looks of this collection.