RUGGED AND READY: Christopher Raeburn unveiled his first collaboration with Barbour, a women’s collection that draws its inspiration from the British brand’s military archives. Barbour for Christopher Raeburn is to launch for fall-winter at the British department store Fenwicks.
The designer said he’s known and loved Barbour for a while. “I grew up in Kent [England] with two older brothers – and a lot of rain,” he said before an intimate dinner on Tuesday evening at Fenwick’s New Bond Street store.
The designer, who regularly works with recycled or reclaimed materials, showed pieces from both the fall and spring collections. Raeburn will work with Barbour for two seasons.
For fall, Raeburn riffed on Barbour’s traditional wax cotton Ursula jacket, which became standard issue for the British submarine service during World War Two because of its slim lines — no sailor needs any extra bulk on those vessels — and waterproof finish.
The short, belted jacket, as well as bombers and trenches, come with prints such as tartan and Raeburn’s signature snow spot, an enlarged polka dot.
The collection also includes knits, shirts, kilt-like skirts, shirtdresses, a backpack and a hold-all. For spring, Raeburn worked with lightweight, waxed fabrics as well as nylon, and some of the jackets are reversible. He’s also added scarves to the spring collection.
“It’s wearable and straightforward, and I wanted to mix the Barbour classics with new things – shirtdresses, accessories, and a mix of spot and check to create — hopefully — something very different,” said the designer.
Raeburn’s passion for all things old — and disused — shows no signs of abating.
“I’ve just bought a 25-man life raft online,” said the designer over dinner. “It has everything, including rations to survive 3-4 weeks on an open sea.” Raeburn plans to inflate it soon, and figure out how he can work the materials into future collections.