There’s an inherent risk in trying to infuse life into an old brand with a lot of history. This is exactly the challenge for the team at Italy’s WP Lavori as they attempt to pump some life into the crusty English outwear brand Baracuta. The classic coat maker and it’s famous “Harrington” jacket have played a role in the style of almost every British generation and cultural movement since they were introduced in an industrialized pre-war Manchester. Eventually, the skilled Bologna-based WP group took control of the brand and have set out to update and modernize the collection. With so many good projects under its belt –Woolrich Woolen Mills, the original Barbour Beacon range and everything ever done with ToKiTo– I’d say WP is up to the task.
While the brand was acquired a few seasons ago, it wasn’t until this SS14 season that we started to see some action in the collection. The G9 got color blocked, garment dyed and militarized bringing some change to an iconic jacket that was previously frozen in time. All of these new versions are being introduced, but the originals have remained intact. So if you are one of those people who hates change, then you don’t have to worry.
Jumping back to this fall, Barcuta opened an online shop for Baracuta (as the jackets aren’t always the easiest things to find at retail) that includes some new playful pieces from AW13 –a fleece G9, tartan boxers made from the iconoc jacket lining plaid and some pieces from the Blue label collection– and tells the story of the (formerly, though still iconic) British brand. It will be interesting to see what comes of the brand and how it will develop. While it must be slightly difficult for the Brits to see an icon taken over by the Italians (much like Thomas Mason in a way), though my thought is that this is probably the best thing that ever happened for the brand. Time will tell, but no matter who owns it, I wouldn’t ever expect the status of the G9 to be any less iconic. [BARACUTA]