Burberry Prorsum Menswear Spring Summer 2012 Milan
Brixton dandy sprung to mind when the Burberry Prorsum show got underway and afterwards, lots of reminiscing about the incredibly rich, colourful street fashions worn by the young blades of Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean descent during the 70s and 80s in the South London district began. It was hard to discover the roots’n’riddim in the Burberry Prorsum clothing for all the stiff-as-boards skinny boys and oddly, mismatched ambiance that the shows production threw at us but those burnt saffron leathers, tight burgundy pants matched with green striped jumpers and pom-pom hats spoke only too loudly. Memories of candid street shots of British men who’d wear their dreads long and mix a bit of mod with a bit of African Batik with a bit of garish, 70s knitwear which was popular at the time, flooded back. I don’t know if that’s what creative director Christopher Bailey was actually inspired by (is it too early to quip young, gifted and back?) but nevertheless I welcomed being reminded about such a key period in British street fashion history. This SS12 collection, with its ethnic prints, dyed raffia man-bags, rude-boy trousers and ska loafers, all given a posh make-over and modern redesign by Burberry evoked the early decades of Notting Hill Carnival (it began in 1964 and remains the biggest date on the festival calendar of London) and the stylish get-ups worn by such men as Norman Jay, Ashley Beadle and Paul Bradshaw (founder and editor of the cult jazz, reggae and electronica magazine, Straight No Chaser) who frequented, along with thousands of others, the weekly club nights at the Blue Note, East London in the 90s. I hope, despite many critics grumbling that this collection missed the mark, it will find an audience because there are whole generations of men who, sure, like the urban gent look but also like a bit of warmth being thrown into the design mix when it comes to choosing those crisp garms. Rocksteady y’all.