"Sloppy couture." It mightn't be the most attractive way to describe Neil Barrett
's latest collection, but knocking ideas around with the designer in his showroom today, it seemed to fit his combination of acute cut, deluxe fabrications, and extreme sportiness. Never mind those ginormous, sweeping skirt-style pants that Barrett showed, you need to picture a sweatshirt with a sack back, basketball shorts in silk crepe de chine, a perforated leather tank. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, Barrett applied his tailoring expertise to a silk crepe jacket so reduced to its essence that it weighed almost nada
. In his signature hybridization of masculine and feminine, he cut an eensy jean jacket out of feather-light kangaroo, and the ultimately male Harrington jacket showed up in iridescent leather.
Barrett is a specialist in the supremely reductive gesture. The biker with the leather body had sleeves in a super-stretch, attenuating the silhouette in an easy way. A blouson in ponyskin had a stripe bleached down its back, like the one you might find running down the leg of tuxedo pants, only jagged. That same stripe also showed up on a trouser leg and on the silk faille front of a sweatshirt. There is something about a jagged edge that defines Barrett's aesthetic: rigorous, slightly dangerous, and like the 1985 movie of the same name, all about obsession.