Still in the process of knitting a pair of the adorable shark mittens from his AW15 collaboration with Wool and the Gang, I was impatient to enter the BFC Showspace to see what Christopher Raeburn had in store for us for SS16. Drumming, tribal music announced the arrival of the collection, named, wonderfully onomatopoeically, Sarawak. The clothes were fluid, dynamic as the models moved, and full of texture. Inspired by both real and imagined female explorers in the jungle of Borneo, the designs were utilitarian and practical, but in sheer light fabrics and cinched at the waist, adding femininity to practicality.
Oversize jacquard bumbags sit on lower backs - useful for the modern explorer - but tied on with fabric belts which become part of the outfit, emphasising the female form. The colour palette, too, spoke of the theme; khakis and olives in heavier fabrics contrasted with sky blue and cloud white, blocked on organzas and decorating jackets.
Raeburn is renowned for the sustainability which forms the core of each collection, and this season was no exception. Black and white air brake parachutes, with their chequered pattern, found themselves on the catwalk as distinctive outerwear. This pattern appeared again on tops, skirts and trousers, this time as silk edging from British mill Vanners, creating cut-out silhouettes.
Long-time fan of a good collaboration, Raeburn has worked with two brands once again this season. Shoes from footwear experts Clarks walked down the catwalk, wrapping feet in tonal materials to form sensible yet very covetable sandals. Lightweight knitwear developed with revolutionary knitwear company Knyttan also appeared, featuring signature graphics from the collection.
Explorers negotiate unknown environments, taking everything in their stride, which is exactly what the Sarawak woman embodies. She is able to adapt to any situation in style, looking sultry but also prepared for whatever she may find in her path. Raeburn has once again combined clever inspiration with innovation and sustainability to create an impeccable collection for next season.