January 12, 2013 Milan
"Visual" can be showy, and Barrett, but for the occasional Bauhaus sweatshirt, isn't that. He's happy to show less when less will do. He made a point in his show notes that this season included one boot and one shoe. The showroom, one imagines, harbors more. But the runway message, even over the course of a long show, was knife-edge honed. The pants, cropped and tapered, are a familiar label piece—this season, they came with tab flaps at the ankle. The covetable coats here were descendants of the covetable coats from last Fall (and there were a few of those in the audience tonight). This year's model belted from the outside to the body to give a sinuous new shape. Structure, Precision, Texture were Barrett's Fall '13 edicts. Yes, they always are, he admitted, "but I'm trying to up the bar," he said.
And so he upped—and upped, and away. Barrett explained that he'd been thinking both of the Bauhaus and the nineties, pare-back times. He's hardly the only designer thinking about sportswear and how it might profitably infest dress, but he's the only one who went so far as to ban shirt collars from his show. Take a look—not a one. They've been banished, as have fasteners and fixers. The breastplate vests Barrett showed with many looks had fencing-jacket fronts and waistcoat backs, but not a button or a buckle in sight. Not visual, graphic. The secret ingredient was Velcro: "Super easy!" Barrett bragged.