The Christopher Raeburn show began with a screening of Mirage, a fashion film produced at White Lodge. It depicts an androgynous model in a hazy, surrealist desert where the sun beats down and rocks descend Magritte-like from the sky, transforming into billowing print fabrics as they fall. Phrases like “unique visual poetry” are often meaninglessly inserted into show-notes, but here they ring true. Raeburn’s signature sports/utilitarian aesthetic has taken on a genuinely delicate, romantic hue for Spring/Summer ’14.
The first few looks out are waffle-textured turquoise and black panelled dresses and jackets, but it feels like the collection really gets started when the sporty but floaty shirt dresses and jumpsuits arrive. A sheer, peachy-nude all-in-one is worn with a punch-out mesh square rucksack. Crisp cotton shirts, printed across the shoulders and chest, are paired with tapered mesh trousers. The print, in true Raeburn style, is a mix of original Ordnance Survey and Victorian maps and it comes in monochrome or pink. The shapes are athletic; sleeveless dresses have hoods, drawstring waists and square pockets, and sweater dresses come with raglan contrast mesh sleeves.
A series of over-dyed indigo garments were “inspired by the colours and textures worn by desert nomads”, but they are more reminiscent of Mao’s utilitarian Long March uniforms. If the aesthetic is sports, then the execution is most definitely luxe, epitomised by the shimmering taupe Mackintosh dress coats and jogging trousers which bring the show to a close.
This desert poem marks a refinement of Raeburn’s aesthetic. His clothes have always been meticulously researched and intelligent, but now they are more beautiful and desirable than ever before – commercial in the very best sense.
– Charlotte Gush