Interviewing Alexis Barrell earlier this year, she told me about the American roadtrip that had inspired today’s show ‘True Romance’. ‘I never wanted to stop driving’, she said of the Californian coast.
Barrell’s salon show in the trendy Saint Martins Lane Hotel had a water runway – models splashed through it in pare back slip on sandals for taste of authenticity. And that’s exactly how it felt, like you’d been swept away into the bright sun of the West Coast. A far cry, all would agree, from London’s soggy, drippy offering.
Barrell’s familiar signature silks were draped in boyish sporty cuts – light cover ups slung nonchalantly over shoulders and darker floral mix pieces cut into playsuits, mini dresses and shorts. Barrell was another designer to take up sheer panelling, cutting into a brilliant white silk pair, showing a litle leg on leg. Meta leg, if you like. The 60s cool was all present and correct: chiffon peasant dresses nodded back to San Francisco’s bay in the latter half of the Swinging decade, while harder brocade pieces made up a welcome structure. You cannot fault Barrell for her textures; neoprene made an appearance while wetsuit zippers and leather made themselves known in evening wear.
The simplicity and ease of Barrell’s drapery, the release and relax of her aesthetic sets her apart as a designer to watch. She should be a name on your lips already, but if not then here’s the proof.