Let’s start things off on a personal note: I fear for designers. A big part of fashion’s pull for this humble editor is the fear that gestates from one collection to the next, when one great showing has to suddenly one-up itself the following season. Keeping that in mind, that queasy feeling in my stomach is always worse in the case of especially talented sorts like Burberry Prorsum’s Christopher Bailey. Reinvigorating the house trench season in and season out, for men, for women, has been one of fashion’s great pleasures for years now. On the women’s side of things, the latest intermediary season offerings have had their fare share of hiccups. It’s been mass-friendly fodder. That’s business, not “fashion” fashion.
Where other brands have latched onto a cyclical reenergizing path, Dolce & Gabbana’s excavations of artisanal Sicily immediately comes to mind, Bailey’s efforts never verge on gimmicky. For fashionistas, a Burberry show is like the arrival of the new iPhone. There’s nothing ‘fad’ about the trench. Is that what Bailey was getting at with a show named “I ♥ Classics”? Take out that heart and you’ve got plain ol’ iClassics. Maybe we’re just reading too deeply into things. Regardless, it was unmistakably classic, but what came down the runway was bona fide Bailey – blueprints torqued for modernity. Macs may be classic to the Burberry line, but ‘military’ is an intrinsic tenet of menswear altogether, and Bailey attacked in that direction halfway through the show, providing a mid-time lull in an otherwise exciting show. The olive pieces felt regurgitated, lacking in creative energy. Burberry’s womenswear malady, to be precise. The cheap commercial stab.
The trousers were strictly black and severely drained, with just enough ankle between the cuff and the sleek cheetah print oxfords. There was plenty of tiger print to match, particularly beautiful when patched with the traditional Burberry check on smart looking doctor bags. The home run accessory on the runway were clearly the cheetah print Wayfarers. They may as well be this year’s answer to tortoiseshell.
Save for that one season a year or two back, when Bailey glorified the house parka in the mac’s stead, the latter’s evolution is why adoring fans rush to see Burberry streaming live on their computers, and this season provided some beautiful, and ultimately challenging, options. The animal print was bound to get its chance, but the most memorable incarnations of the house mac this season will be those of the pony hair variety, which had an almost viscous property to their glow under the runway lights. The ones bound for most editorial play? The macs in fun, colorful Latex. Notice how the milky white version of that trench fit over that body conscious black suit below. No bunching, no gathering anywhere. Masterful stuff. Technical prowess aside, it was a head to toe look of excelsior taste. It makes one want to take a chance on white outerwear again.