Christopher Raeburn is not one to prepare for fair weather. For heavy showers, blizzards or polar expeditions, however, he is your man and one-stop-shop. Never a better-timed proposition, considering the outright envious looks from the audience who dripped dry in the rows of Victoria House after a persistently rainy morning, Raeburn’s collection was a procession of elements-proof utilitarian staples. From nylon and felt parkas to polar bear sweatshirts and bombers, the collection charted a palpable drop in temperature, culminating in a extreme shearling coats made for Siberian wastelands, or, if you happen to be staying put, for the cosiest bear hugs in town. Complete with hiking boots, backpacks and multi-functional and detachable features, Raeburn’s boys were head-to-toe ready to step on the set of The Vertical Limit or 127 Hours.
However, there was more than Raeburn’s customary focus on functionality and high-tech fabric; his ensembles also evoked the desolate beauty of Ragner Axelsson’s photography of the Arctic, who the designer cited as a guiding inspiration for the collection. One could almost feel the howling wind and barking of sled dogs, given that such sounds were also part an immersive aural backdrop. Still, Raeburn stayed true to the brand’s “sustainable intelligence” mantra, making his awe-inspiring fur coats by recycled lambs wool, and bring once again his Pop Out Parka, his trademark made of two parts engineered to be worn separately or together.
What this collection made clear was that Raeburn would never leave you out in the cold, or not without fully equipping you to confront it head on. From inside his superior outerwear, you might even relish it.