As the scion of a family of military tailors, Neil Barrett knows the meaning of the word discipline. The collection he showed tonight was a minor masterpiece of rigor. "Taking an idea and developing it in a tight palette," was how he put it. Every permutation of a handful of fundamental ideas—silhouettes, fabrics, textures, colors—was explored to its limit. There were no surprises. In fact, there was something mechanical about the way the show unfolded. But Barrett defined once and for all what he stands for as a menswear designer. One almost hopes that, from this point on, he picks himself up and points elsewhere, applying his obvious talent to something less predictable and more challenging.

And yet, what often becomes evident during a Barrett show is how he actually is challenging himself. For instance, there was a subtle focus on denim, never a Barrett staple. And he was thinking about how to make longer lengths work. A play with proportion has always been one of his signatures, but he's never been entirely happy with the result. Here, he popped his bomber jackets over a tabard-like tee, long but zipping open at the sides so hands could find pants pockets with ease. The zip was nickel. That's the kind of detail the designer loves.

He's a masterful technician—look at any of his bonded pieces (for some reason, camel always comes to the fore, probably because it's so classic that the idea of bonding it is immediately more radical). And he was very happy about the fact that he'd developed his outerwear to be crease-proof. All those lush suedes and leathers and gabardines could conceivably remain as new until they're tipped into some cosmic landfill in the distant future. Barrett loves the precision, the polish. What would happen if he unhinged? Maybe that's the next step.