Neil Barrett: Menswear SS23
With a name like Urban Oasis, it’s hard to imagine anything other than pristine sidewalks and vegetative skyscrapers. But when planted in front of Neil Barrett’s SS23 collection, Urban Oasis meant utilitarian streetwear traversing the ages of man.
Rather than a live catwalk, the Italian-bred English fashion mechanic opted for a video presentation this season, transforming the white cube of his own Milanese headquarters for the set. Amidst the urban, alabaster-cement chamber, dark rolling sand dunes lent it a surreal feel – an environment within an environment – and nature returned to the urban space, just as Barrett returned to uniform tailoring and the 1990s minimalism that catalysed his career.
Barrett’s clothes, engineered for the heat – with aerated panels, open knits, mesh and eyelets – were most pertinent, considering the Milan heatwave this year. Plus, stratified silhouettes meticulously merged with mirage-like sequins and the utilitarian sophistication of immaculate tailoring, while uniforms of everyday life, such as jeans, sweatshirts and sweatpants, were crafted to an Italian calibre.
As for the colours? Aside from sartorial accents of fiery red, the palette was largely monochromatic bringing pure white and jet black and sunbleached shades of beige and ivory to the fore, like shadows cast across the desert sand.
Photography courtesy of Neil Barrett.