June 26, 2006
A banker and a skinhead aren't immediately obvious bunk mates, but Neil
Barrett explored their unlikely compatibility in his latest collection.
What they share is a crisp and codified precision in their approach to
dressing, which dovetails with Barrett's own taste for a neat, tight
silhouette. He combined the various tokens of boardroom and barroom to
create a personal hybrid, and it was intriguing to see how much
crossover there was between the two radically different worlds. The
skin's pocket chain could easily pass as a banker's fob. And the
affection both tribes feel for suspenders gave Barrett a signature
graphic for the collection: They were printed front and back on shirts.
(To complete the trompe l'oeil effect, another shirt was also printed
with a city tie.)
The banker's iconic striped shirt was shown sleeveless (shades of Pete
Doherty as dressed by Hedi Slimane), and the pinstriped pants with which
it was paired were cropped and tight, another reference to skin style.
Equally shrunken was a banker's waistcoat, adapted here in washed black
leather and worn with white linencotton jeans and the designer's
boxing-style take on the Doc Marten boot (literally the foundation of a
skin's wardrobe). Barrett's white-laced boots aren't for everyone, and
you could argue that he worked the high/low dichotomy to more seductive
effect for fall, but this collection still represented a consistently
engagingand timelyclash of the formal and funked-up.