The best of Britain at Burberry
An ode to many British things but jumbled up lovingly with lots of aplomb and pageantry in a memorable Burberry fashion show staged inside the Old Sessions House, an almost forgotten Georgian courthouse in Clerkenwell. Seconds after the final, 80th look, in this vast men’s and women’s show exited the scene, the jury was in. The verdict? This was a proper, red-hot hit.
Though staged during London’s spring 2018 runway season, this was Burberry’s third See Now Buy Now show, so the clothes were actually fall 2017 with all the autumnal weight that this implies. Expect lots of English rain seeing as the show opened with oodles of lime and pink transparent mackintoshes and trench coats. The ladies feet warmed up in bright Argyle socks, the guys in a great new loafer meets golfer shoe in black and canary yellow.
No look summed up the mood better than the suggestive, deconstructed cocktails. Made of revamped gunners coats or Red Coats regimental uniforms into fabulous upside-down dresses and skirts. Though the punchiest looks were the glorious patchwork Aran and Fair Isle knits that recalled the Swinging Sixties.
Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey has used Burberry’s signature plaid sparingly over the years – this time he embraced it heartily. From some bold capes, anoraks and baseball caps in the signature brown tartan to giant trenches in blue or guys pants in green. Talk about a Tartan Horde. One almost expected to hear Bay City Rollers on the soundtrack and not the Pet Shop Boys, remixed rather brilliantly throughout.
Though Bailey said the collection was themed around British social portraiture, it felt more frequently that the wellspring were the many tribes of the UK – from hard working dockworkers to dashing cavalrymen, to east London dandies off clubbing on Friday night. Post show one could admire the photography exhibition "Here We Are" of British social portraiture and also shots of the actual clothes by Bailey’s new buddy Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy.
And talk about a great casting – from Cindy Crawford’s kids Kaia Gerber and Presley Gerber to Adwoa Aboah at the final passage, and including sixteen-year-olds called in from Amsterdam and Bologna – many of them making their runway debut. Some truly intimidated by the entrance, where a mob of some 200 animal rights protesters yelled “Fur Shame” at every guest entering the former courthouse, on which they projected images of screaming caged animals. A cordon of scores of security and police kept them at bay.
Back inside, there were faint echoes of other houses in this collection: from the transparency of Raf Simons finale for Calvin Klein in New York last week to oversized totes that have become a signature of Vetements in Paris. Though as we live in an age of cocktail fashion, where mixology is the central trend, who can really fault a little similarity?
The collection was also an ideal introduction to the house for Marco Gobbetti, the new CEO of Burberry who took over in July, after taking six-months gardening leave on quitting his job as boss of LVMH’s Paris house Celine.
“Apparently, back in the 19th century people who lost court cases here used to be sentenced to life in the penal colonies of Australia, which is where we plan to send any retailers who don’t buy enough,” the Italian executive joked. Not much chance of that Marco – these clothes will sell like hot cakes – all of them immediately available on Burberry’s own website.
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