Alexis Barrell*

St Martin’s Lane Hotel, London | 11.21 am

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This was a presentation that took me a little while to wrap my head around. Alexis Barrell, the South African-born designer now based in London, chose to theme her Spring 2014 collection around the beach; the backdrop was an ocean aqua, the runway a shallow strip of water. The designs themselves on first glance reminded me of Ocean Pacific (a California brand of significance from my childhood) with what I would basically call a controlled clash–patterns that combat each other, but with a careful thought that tastefully makes sense. A LOT of in store mannequins are about this lately.

Maybe it was the clash and the reminder of the ocean that initially threw me awry. But as I keep coming back to this collection, the closer I feel to it. The patterns remind me of the ocean, the surf, salty air, 1992, the freedom with which one is required to wear clothes in a coastal setting… Huntington Beach… there is a subtlety in this collection that makes me miss my birthplace in a way that fashion has never done before.

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