LFW: CHRISTOPHER RAEBURN S/S 2014

Christopher Raeburn thinks you need to spend your spring and summer outdoors, preferably some place hot and dusty, maybe hunting for wild creatures. Actually, it is a bit stereotypical to think of the Brits out on safari, but Raeburn makes it difficult to avoid that cliche when he comes at us with a collection so wholly committed to that very look.

Not that he didn’t try to fool us at first, mind you. The show started with a rather surreal video that showed something that, from my vantage point, looked a bit like jelly fish falling onto the desert floor. I don’t think they actually were jelly fish. They were perhaps plastic bags or maybe even scarves, but I never was quite sure.

When the first looks came out, they were very quaint, dark teal and black, very well put together and quite stylish. Raeburn started with a sleeveless dress and a nice zippered top with shorts, setting a bit of a sporty theme.

Then, the palette turned brown, the fabrics turned to silk, and the next think I know there’s a rain slicker coming down the runway; something people in London might actually find useful on a day like today. Once he made that turn to the outdoors, Raeburn never came back in.

Are we surprised? No, not at all. This is a label that likes the outdoors and enjoys being a little sporty. However, Christopher Raeburn likes taking that outdoor look inside with fabrics that are not really meant for extreme weather conditions. While the prints may be camo and very attractive watercolor desert scenes, the materials may not hold up all that well once one begins to perspire in them a bit.

Raeburn accessorizes several of the looks with matching backpacks; not the kind of backpack one takes to school, but more the kind within which one carries extra stock piles of food. Some of the models looked as though they were going foraging with little hope of returning back before dark.

Christopher Raeburn is still young but his collection is a style of sporty that holds appeal beyond his peers. Many of his dresses have a “grown up” no nonsense aesthetic and even the collars are buttoned all the way up. There’s no unnecessary frivolity here. This is a practical and wearable collection that is ready to be tossed into a suitcase and carried to where ever your travels may take you.

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