Christopher Bailey can, apparently, do no wrong. When I heard that this morning’s show was going to be about the 70s, I winced. Didn’t we have enough of that last season? Was there really anything left to be said that hadn’t already been shouted?
Never worry, though, for no one has quite the touch that Bailey has, nor quite the resources. Burberry is, at least for the time being, the quintessential British brand and I’m pretty sure the country would declare Burberry’s show days as national holidays if they could. There’s no show on the schedule that clogs as much traffic, garners as much press attention or has a more celebrity-studded front row. Burberry and Bailey rule this town, so most anything they put out there is going to sell well.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Bailey specifically focused on the more folk rock styles of the early 70s rather than the fashion insanity that came later in the decade. As a result, what we saw was a large number of floral prints done in patchwork and overlaying each other on contrasting fabrics and textures. As dizzying as that may sound, Bailey makes it work, primarily by keeping his background colors dark and his fabrics heavy.
In fact, the entire setting for today’s show was quite a bit darker than usual. Curtains lined the walls at the custom show space in Kensington Garden, giving the set a more somber and serious feel to it. Cue the patchwork ponchos with suede fringe. Or the suede trench, also with a touch of fringe. Now, add the Kim Carnes-like voice of British singer Clare McGuire performing live, toss in some circle shades (you know, the type John Lennon preferred), and you have something that is a mix between a fashion presentation and a rock concert.
There were some surprises. What I thought were very colorful leggings at first turned out to be thigh-high printed boots. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, you’re going to want multiple because these boots may be the most cool thing I’ve seen in several seasons. Then, there’s the bucket bag. You’re going to want that, too, and probably won’t want to wait until fall to get it. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Both are immediately available for purchase from the Burberry website.
When it comes to silhouettes, empire lines are all you need to know as that look ruled the dresses in the collection. Everything else is pretty much standard Burberry; it’s not so much a matter of deviating from what works, but tweaking it just enough to make the old and reliable feel fresh. Again, Bailey is a master at this technique, knowing exactly how to change things without actually changing too much.
Finale comes around and metallic confetti falls from the ceiling as McGuire is joined by a choir for a rousing rendition of “My Sweet Lord,” that had Sam Smith and friends jamming on the front row. If one is going to have to endure a frustratingly cold winter, Burberry makes a good case for how to do it in comfort and style. Never mind that the whole collection is outrageously expensive and that shearling coat costs more than three month’s rent. This is Burberry so it’s worth it, right?