BURBERRY STRIDES INTO THE FUTURE, USING THE PAST

 

WORDS Conrad Bischoff


     Burberry’s show yesterday will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable of the season, and arguably one of the most important for the future of fashion. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, we’ll look at just the clothes and venue to begin. 

 

     Christopher Bailey showed the latest collection at Maker’s House, which in collaboration with The New Craftsmen, will “[curate] some of the most talented artists, designers and creators who are dedicated to producing the best of British culture, artefacts and craft methods” (Burberry’s website). Various exhibits will be on display at the London studio until the 27th of this month. For the show itself, Burberry had sculptures designed which were placed at the front gate of the venue, and created an English sculpture garden for guests. The sculptures already hinted at influence from the past, as most resembled 19th century busts and freestanding revivals from antiquity. 

 
 

     Bailey cited Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography as further inspiration for the collection. The novel details the adventures of a male poet who, after undergoing a sex change, lives for centuries afterwards and is able to meet some of English literature’s key figures. It was no surprise then, to find a collection not only rich with Elizabethan and Romantic influences, but also one that utilized the current trend of androgyny. The Burberry boys of this season were dressed in softly tailored shirts of cotton and silk, with collars and cuffs accented using Elizabethan-inspired ruffles. The shirts were layered beautifully under jackets of velvet, leather, and wool, with their extra long sleeves and ruffled turtlenecks pulled outside, melding the past and present handsomely in a relaxed way. This was especially true of looks with the paneled shearling aviator jackets; an outerwear trend that dominated last season as well. 

 
 

     The collection also expertly conveys the sentiment “the devil is in the details.” Oversized, lightweight tunics were left unbuttoned under overcoats; chunky, leather belts were secured with a quick twist at the waist; and metal rivets gleamed over a leather bomber and this season’s latest bag: equestrian-inspired the bridle bag.  These particular additions conjured up something devilish indeed in the otherwise romantic, poetic, feminine look for Burberry’s menswear this season.

 

     This season. The phrase is a good place to start to address the far-reaching effects that Burberry’s show will have on the fashion world of tomorrow. Christopher Bailey, unlike most other designers who showed Spring/Summer 17 collections this week, showed his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, and made it available for purchase immediately after the show was finished. The collection was ready to be shopped online (with next day shipping) and in stores. The Burberry website posted each look from the collection with corresponding links to each item.

 
 

     Many an article has been written at this point concerning the “see now, buy now” strategy, but to quickly summarize: We’ve all grown quite impatient after seeing clothes, months before they’re in stores, shown in editorials and on social media. So, rather than keep up with an antiquated system, designers are beginning to consider changing the fashion week schedule as we know it to accommodate for their consumers. The answer as to whether or not this is indeed an effective way to keep up with the demands of luxury good consumers will come soon enough, but Burberry’s flawless execution definitely seems to be a step in the right direction.