Christopher Bailey had invitations for the Burberry show set in pocket-size pieces of stone this season, a nod to Henry Moore, the renowned British sculptor who inspired the collection. The brand presented its first see-now-buy-now collection last September at the former Foyles, the landmark London bookstore, and this time around the space was stripped bare of its bookish charm to accommodate several of Moore’s monolithic figures on the runway. Those impressive, feminine forms were a clear sign of the shift in proportions to come, one that would ultimately reconfigure the traditionalist dimensions of the trenchcoat, along with all the other Britishisms in a Burberry wardrobe.
The cable knits were a prime example, often cut with a sexy, off-the-shoulder line; in some cases they were reimagined as asymmetric miniskirts. It was Bailey’s renditions of the sweatshirt though, the more casual cousin of the Aran sweater, that were the most compelling. Fashion’s love affair with the oversize hoodie appears to be coming to an end, at least in London. Bailey’s versions of the look came with off-kilter attitude and a nip-waisted silhouette. It was a flattering antidote to the popular body-obscuring shape, one that would work just as well with the current craze for thigh-high boots as it did with Burberry’s surprisingly conceptual heel—perhaps the most direct homage to Moore’s work.
The chief creative officer and CEO is pretty obsessive when it comes to his research, and he called on the help of Moore’s daughter to help him bring more unexpected creative references into the collection. As it happens, the artist’s personal style was as cool and considered as you would expect, and his signature crisp striped shirting and faded blue workwear pants appeared on the runway layered up with pretty lace shift dresses—one utilitarian jumpsuit was peppered with charming macramé patches at the shoulder.
Those handwrought, weather-worn details grounded the more directional ideas in the collection with heart and soul. Bailey has always managed to straddle the past and the future with his designs, and understands that harnessing the brand’s connection to its heritage will ultimately propel Burberry forward. (Fun fact: Moore was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, the same place Burberry began producing many of its iconic designs in the 1880s.) Back then the label was also synonymous with capes, another little known Burberry factoid. Guests were reminded of that forgotten outerwear legacy with a series of intricate handmade capelets tonight which came finished with exquisite embellishments—feathers, crystals, lace—many of which had the appearance of futuristic Elizabethan ruffs. Bailey described the project as a happy accident that came out of found objects that were left over in the studio while they were making the collection. Now that they’ve moved to a consumer-facing model, it seems that he and his design team have more time on their hands for creative play. They’re carving out exciting new places for quintessential English craftsmanship and artisanal practices in the process, too.
We took a peak at the Burberry February 2017 collection show on Youtube and it's breathtaking.