It is a tall order to constantly break the mold when you're as established as Burberry. What Ralph Lauren is to New York, Louis Vuitton to Paris, is what Burberry is to London — and with that comes great responsibility. Yet Christopher Bailey manages to deliver added value each season by way of an unparalleled show experience, an enviably star-studded front row or through tweaking iconic pieces that are part of the brand's bread and butter. Today's show vouched for all of the above as it took us to a myriad of destinations from the Balinese Islands of Southeast Asia to the souks of Morocco. In attendance today was a powerhouse front row that included The Honourable Woman herself, Maggie Gyllenhaal, campaign faces Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell, along with the man of the hour, Sam Smith.
As far as design is concerned, Bailey seemed to be easing off on the paddle slightly, delivering ultimately what his customers want to wear, rather than pulling any major surprises. The classic Burberry sentimentality is ever present but in the form of figurative postcards from exotic corners of the world with each look. Batik print trench coats were styled with suede patchwork bottoms for a print-on-print effect. Day dresses with exposed panelling continued the print story, fashioning oriental motifs at times. Paako Indian embroidery with embedded mirror accents carry forward a theme from the men's show. But what is poised to becoming the season's must-haves were the fringed capes and matching bucket bags that were decidedly bohemian.
The occasional studio 54 hair, the disco ball at curtain call, and the general Jimi Hendrix attitude pointed to the '70s.
While this season feels relatively safe, there is merit in pacing the audience with peaks and troughs. If the easy entry and exit of new designers at London Fashion Week were to teach us anything, it's that it's not a sprint. And Burberry is in it for the long run.