Razzle dazzle

Business is looking up at Aquascutum, a snazzy London Mackintosh store opens this week and Burberry Prorsum’s AW11 menswear show has been a highlight of Pitti Uomo – yep, rainwear is certainly newsworthy right now. One of my favourite newbies on the rainwear scene is Christopher Raeburn, whose recycled parachutes have won him NEWGEN sponsorship at London Fashion Week. His ss11 collection, Razzle was inspired by ‘Razzle Dazzle‘ the vivid camouflage patterns used on WW1 war ships to confuse the enemy. I didn’t know anything about Razzle Dazzle until I started looking into this but during the war, battleships were painted in complex graphic patterns to confuse the eye and distance judgement of the enemy. The disruptive patterns would visually break up the shape and size of the ship so from a distance the enemy German U-boats would be unable to distinguish the bow from the stern. Sneaky! This is what they looked like:

And here’s a painting by Edward Wadsworth that illustrates the optical illusion effect beautifully:

And here’s a Jeff Koons Razzle Dazzle lookalike:

But back to Raeburn. His collection also gave his trad camouflage a twist with graphic polkadots in varying scales and a mix of pop-art brights with classic khaki. This men’s and womenswear collection (all made in Britain) is both beautiful and functional – those wee pouches are for storing the jackets when not in use. Buy them from Browns, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, 10 Corso Como and Barneys.

To finish off, I had to share this excellent Christopher Raeburn video: