Today’s show took place in a massive tent in the shadow of the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, in the same week that Burberry made 13th place on Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative companies. To fuse past and future so seamlessly is a remarkable achievement. Almost as slick: the way Christopher Bailey glossed the behemoth that is Burberry with an act of humble heroine worship. There are those – Mick Jagger included – who considered her sister Chrissie the real siren, but for Bailey, it’s always been Jean Shrimpton, and he named Burberry’s Fall collection after the proto-supermodel. The look and sound of her golden era – the early sixties – shaped the show.
Humble? It certainly seemed so, given the weight of technology that rested on his inspiration’s slender shoulders: the live-streaming for the first time to the big screen in Piccadilly Circus, and on to more than 150 countries around the world
and at 40 live events, not to mention untold iPads and iPhones, with the chance to shop the collection online in the moment.
Backstage, Bailey mentioned that the Shrimp once did advertising for Burberry, so she had history with the house. He showed the kind of outfits she might well have modeled. Trim coats with a matching bag and the odd military flourish; drop-waisted, tulip-skirted dresses; and leanly mod sweaters and pants all had the girl-woman quality that Shrimpton’s boyfriend David Bailey captured in their iconic collaborations. It’s become the style of the younger Bailey (no relation) to make his point with multiple variations on one theme. That trim coat ruled the show. The designer played with its silhouette – cropping the body, dropping the shoulder, exploding the sleeve – and offered it in everything from orange gabardine to black mink. The blanket checks in particular should be right little movers, but the bald fact remained that today we saw one helluva lot of coat and not one helluva lot of range. The upside for online shoppers was the extraordinary variety of bags to match.