Upcycling impresario Christopher Raeburn returned to London Fashion Week on Sunday with his Spring/Summer 2013 women’s collection—the second he’s dedicated to the fairer sex. His springboard for inspiration? The concept of flight, or more specifically, the first female aviators. Raeburn stumbled upon a cache of ’50s-era flight maps, printed on silk instead of paper so pilots could find their way to safety even in a downpour. (“The intricate print is as interesting to decipher as it is visually impressive,” Raeburn says.) The reclaimed materials set the tone for the entire lineup, which he punctuated with laminated lace, decommissioned parachute nylons, quilting derived from recycled plastic bottles, and a subtle camouflage print on ripstop cotton.
Raeburn proved his versatility beyond his signature anoraks and parkas: Slim-cut blazers, diaphanous jogging pants, grosgrain-seamed bicycle shorts, tailored shift dresses, and silk jersey T-shirts took his sporty-luxe aesthetic in a more ladylike direction. Making its return this season was the “Christopher Raebbit,” reimagined as a rucksack and outfitted with repurposed hardware. It also brought company—a dog and an owl. Utility has never looked so feminine, or playful.