Descended from several generations of prolific tailors, Milan-based designer Neil Barrett has true sartorial pedigree in his blood. Having studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London, he spent his post-graduate years refining his design aesthetic within the luxury market, working for the fabled houses of Prada and Gucci. Establishing his own acclaimed namesake label in 1999, Barrett presented his first menswear collection in Milan in 2002.
The recent SS13 show in Italy’s sartorial capital demonstrated this ever-popular designer’s knack for crafting innovative, yet practical garments for the sophisticated rule-breaker.
Presented to the audience in a dramatic, centuries-old pillared space that added to the garments’ distinctly modern sensibility, the show opened with clean-lined pieces in an array of rich blue tones, ranging from navy to cobalt. The central section of the show exhibited high-summer whites and neutrals with tailored, printed shorts of varying lengths and fabrics taking centre stage, as well as dominant stripe motifs, which appeared in a variety of solid, fine and broken forms across the collection. The closing looks of the show took a darker turn, with muted monochrome and black tones dictating the transition of late summer into autumn.
Sports-luxe was once again the central theme for a SS13 collection, with sumptuous bomber and biker style jackets dominant features of the show; a particular standout piece of the outerwear range was an exquisitely-textured quilted design, with artfully-executed padding that exuded and air of modern armour. The collection also demonstrated Barrett’s comprehensive awareness of design trends, with metallic and texture-rich garments, as well as statement patterns on offer throughout the assemblage; iridescent looks held focus in the form of eye-catching metallic cover-ups and high-shine leathers, whilst slim-cut tailoring was shown in solid tones and dynamic prints.
The athletic theme continued with accessories, with models kitted out with backpacks, baseball caps and hi-top trainers. The formalisation of sportswear elements was the key to the success of the collection, as were the luxurious fabrics and superb construction; the quality of the leathers and textural details was evident.
Inherently wearable for men of all age groups, the SS13 offering has an unashamedly youthful, masculine appeal that will make you wish away the following months, just so you can get your hands on one of Barrett’s warm-weather creations a little sooner.