It's called Day 5 — but the final day of London Fashion Week always feels more like the morning after. The big, tent-pole names — Burberry, Kane, Anderson, Katrantzou — have been and gone; and what's left, unavoidably, feels like leftovers.
Christopher Raeburn is probably one of the few designers who can survive that tag. His work over successive seasons has been of such unswerving, consistent quality that he's become one of the schedule's unsung anchors. You know what you're going to get with Raeburn — sturdy, practical yet evocative clothing, rooted in resonant tradition yet excitingly relevant.
His womenswear collections have added a layer of elegance, and at times even sexiness, to the label's aesthetic. Today, though, he went back to the adventurous, inadvertently masculine feel of his recent menswear show. Inspired by the ocean, orange life rafts (banded with fluorescent hazard tape) and mottled naval blankets were carved and recut into anoraks, capes and peacoats, and teamed with pastel knits or quilted, fog-green puffer jackets. So far, so good. It went a little off-course, somehow, in the more random moments — sheer panels spilling out of wrap skirts, or jagged panels spliced into the rear panels of overcoats like debris. But overall, Raeburn's purposeful aesthetic shone through, particularly in smart, urbane coats that transformed the rugged maritime inspirations into something covetingly new.