By this point, we thought we knew what to expect from a Burberry show. Wearable shapes, timeless coats, and English heritage classicism. After all, this is a brand that just celebrated 160 years of history. Oh, how wrong we were. On Monday night, Christopher Bailey delivered a collection that seemed to take the label in a whole new direction; one that was more experimental, edgy, and contemporary.
The Burberry DNA was still there, in trench coats, leather bags, and seemingly-classic shapes like collared shirts and cable knits. But each came with a twist; knits were asymmetrical, shirts had extra-long sleeves, coats had extra panels and rolled cuffs, bags were tiny and cylindrical. With a color palette that barely deviated from black, white, and beige, Bailey ushered in a new era for the brand.
Last season's Elizabethan influences were touched on again at this show, in leg-o-mutton sleeves, ruffled collars, and capelets in hand-looped rope (perhaps not the most wearable creations, but definitely some of the most striking). There was also a nautical feel to the twisted rope trims and breton stripe knits. But it was art that played the biggest part in the show, from the Henry Moore sculptures that lined the show space to the recreations painted on cotton shirt dresses and the swirled piping on casual sweaters.
Though established Burberry fans may struggle to come to terms with this new direction, it will do wonders to introduce the label to a new audience. And if you look at the key pieces in seclusion, away from the experimental runway styling and the couture capes that closed the show, you are left with plenty of wearable pieces for the modern wardrobe: loose artists' shirts, chunky knits, chic capes, statement coats, and lacy dresses. All of which can be shopped right now.