No one owns London Fashion Week the way Burberry owns London Fashion Week.
Just by walking into the show, you immediately make eyes with any number of young starlets. You see Gwyneth Paltrow, and Emma Watson, you walk past Mary-Kate Olsen, Daisy Lowe, and Victoria Beckham. You see Freida Pinto and Dev Patel holding each other’s hands like they are bracing themselves for something. Something amazing.
You see them, but they don’t see you. All eyes are fixed on the vacant runway where they are giddy with anticipation.
Designer Christopher Bailey pushed every inch of the well-established oeuvre of the Burberry trench to its limits. He took a design that was once militaristic and pushed the doldrums of practicality, bringing a new look to it.
He bunched, draped, twisted, ruched, and distressed otherwise complacent fabrics. He put chiffon and duchesse satin where we’re used to seeing nylon. He wrapped the models in tulle skirts until their hips protruded with a dazzling texture of cake frosting.
Even seemingly conservative looks like this bare bone earthtone with straight three-quarter sleeves wasn’t spared the gathering and pleating, giving this look the stoic beauty of a wax bride atop a wedding cake.
All at once, there is a turn and he does the opposite with a straight hem and an Alice-in-Wonderland take on the power shoulder – yet still with the same paramilitary belt.
To get lost in the new Burberry is to think of a Sci-Fi future London where even chance encounters with sunlight are squashed by two-inch muddy puddles that never drain. In this world, everyone wears three inch platforms and dresses for whatever may come their way.
But when Bailey does introduce a color, how does it sit upon any current Burberry earth-tone piece? Like petals on a wet, black bough.
The most delicious pieces are the ones that combine the two elements of the flower and the stem, the tree and the leaf, or the sky and the cloud, to form a structural piece with hemlines that borrow from tradition, and gathering that borrows from the limits of imagination.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.