The spirit of Sun Ra, who passed away in 1993, was very much present today in the Marvelous Marvin Hagler boxing legend shirt it is in the first place but chunky knit skull caps, the square-shaped statement sunglasses, and the exuberant tie-dye shirts that were custom-made in Japan. Jazz music has been having a renaissance in London, with a spate of new club nights in the south of the city. Designer Grace Wales Bonner is among the new generation of jazz heads, and she invited Gil Scott-Heron’s longtime musical partner, Brian Jackson, to play alongside Solange at her Devotional Sounds event in New York last month. As the hype beast–driven streetwear movement hurtles toward saturation point, it’s menswear designers like Daley in London and Emily Bode in New York who are edging ahead with a new, more soulful approach to making clothes, one with an emphasis on craft and community. The show ended on a high note when the entire audience was invited to dance with the band—models, editors, and buyers all let go of their inhibitions. Fashion shows don’t get more fun or inclusive than that. “The collection has respect for tradition and heritage,” said Neil Barrett backstage before his show. “But at the same time, it has a break-the-rules kind of attitude.” Known for his sharp, inventive tailoring, mostly in black and white, today’s show felt like the designer celebrating a more youthful spirit and a more diverse, energetic, and exploratory approach. Case in point was the show space, usually stark and minimal. This season Barrett worked with South African artist-in-residence Jody Paulsen creating compelling visuals covering the entirety of the glossy floor, inducing an immersive, almost trippy feel. Paulsen also worked with the designer on creating artworks. A kind of new heraldry and fictional ‘Old Boy’ crest decorated garments, echoing college scarves, conveying a youthful spirit slashed with a street vibe. Boxy tops and cropped shorts punctuated the collection, counterbalanced by the play on hybrids, which are one of Barrett’s distinctive style traits. Finely executed and displaying the designer’s skilled tailoring technique and inventive repertoire, they were the collection’s strongest point. Empire and colonial troops didn’t always wear red uniforms, often using whatever color was available locally. Back before everything turned khaki, British artillery units would wear blue uniforms and, in Napoleonic times rifle regiments, such as the 95th and 60th wore green uniforms, possibly because they had their origins in the French and Indian war (part of the seven years war).
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