Surely by now Burberry sets the golden standard for showmanship by any measure. The tent in Hyde Park seems to grow grander with each season and the runway evermore plush, decked in Burberry's signature marble flooring this time. At the heart of the runway, a full orchestra pit confronts the audience with anticipation — Bailey never reveals all his cards but he wasn't going to pretend for a second that live music had ceased to be part of the program. Guests decked in Moroccan prints and luxurious suedes from his current season filtered in one by one like clockwork. The venue, a whitewash of cream, was all set to serve as the canvas for Christopher Bailey's latest collection.
Over the years, Bailey has relentlessly built upon this vision of the Burberry girl: she is the immaculate English Rose, elegant, effervescent and just happens to have perfectly blow-dried locks all hours of the day. This visual image the designer had crafted can be seen to clearly filter through the ranks in the company, manifesting itself even at the most junior level of the very polished press team. Groomed to the highest standards, their needle point stilettos propped them up to be on guard. It brought to mind old memories of Angela Ahrendts' steely yet astute gaze as she sat close to the entrance of the catwalk in past seasons.
With such strong internal culture and iconography intact several seasons after her departure, Christopher Bailey probably felt it was high time for the brand to explore new propositions. The Burberry girl witnessed today had a streak of street realism. Her hair was at times an undercut, sometimes cropped and in other looks mildly textured, perhaps out-of-bed. Lips were in the statement shade of black rose. See-through English broderie dresses were worn under shrunken peacoats with gold military detail — you could almost hear the designer quipping "lingerie is the new outerwear" for spring. Bridal silk satin maxi dresses suggested the notion of vintage outfitting, taking an old ’80s gown, possibly a family heirloom, and paring it down with sandals. Bailey's girl is now a lot more rebellious than before.
The accessories du jour also reflected this newly found laid-back cool that Burberry hopes to channel. Low-hanging rucksacks emblazoned with models’ initials — presumably a personalisation service available later in stores — became the conceit for the grand finale.
The live performance by ‘80s singer/songwriter Alison Moyet anchored the show. It almost blew the roof off the tent, prompting the audience to break into applause several times over the course of the 15 minutes. By the end, the consensus on what transpired could only be described as a signature "Burberry moment" to behold.
Join us on NOWFASHION and delight in the livestream experience of the much awaited Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2016 show live from Kensington Gardens right here: