by LUKE LEITCH
Patrick Grant had said pre-show this collection was inspired by the portraits of scarecrows by British photographer Peter Mitchell. Yet anyone anticipating a straw-strewn Savile Row interpretation of Worzel Gummidge had their hopes dashed. Grant is far too meticulous for that.
The only fleeting concession to raggle-taggleness was when a flannel or micro corduroy collar demanded a referendum on whether to stay in or out of the round-necked sweater worn around it. This was the sole speck of scruff in a collection whose every detail, down to the carefully carefree arrangement of layered, popper-attached collarless shirting, was styled with complete precision. A far more consistent theme than scruffiness was rusticity. Jumbo corduroy trousers in navy, faded check overcoats in cereal-pasture beige, loose suiting in russet flecked olive with wide, pleated, pressed-crease pants, and the odd anorak were distant relations to the garments (very well-dressed) British farmers might have outfitted their hay men with (in a world imagined by Grant). These were dreamy country clothes: fantasy Cirencester chic. But not from now. The proportions—loose, wide, flowing, but controlled too—along with the wide-aperture spectacles worn by the models, plus a blast of “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” on the soundtrack combined to conjure the ’80s. Giorgio Armani-scale tailoring plus that rural Land Rover and wet dog smell aesthetic whispered Sloane Ranger: This was a Conservative Central Office researcher working weekends aesthetic. As Grant said afterward, here was a collection full of formally sourced clothing created to be worn informally: soft power suiting.