Neil Barrett's big idea this season was to enlarge traditional patterns—houndstooth, Prince of Wales check, marinière stripes—and to distort them. "Unraveling" is how he described it at his Rue du Mail presentation, but that might be a bit of an overstatement. Barrett is a controlled designer, and bless him for it.

Anyone who saw his menswear collection for Spring will recognize the oversize silvery gray houndstooth arranged graphically on a black shift, as if the pattern only "took" in certain places. Herringbone chevrons similarly disintegrated down a pair of fluid trousers, while marinière stripes spilled off a flowy dress with a high slit and built-in shorts.

Fluid, flowy. The words strike fear in the hearts of longtime Barrett fans who live for his rigorous tailoring. It was here, too, in the form of jackets cut from spongy neoprene covered in net. The surprise, though, was how confident the looser and easier stuff looked.