When thinking of quintessential British fashion, more often than not, Burberry will be the defining brand of British fashion traditionalism. It remains one of the most sought after and highly regarded shows in the busy schedule of London Fashion Week. This LFW was no exception. Fashion editors and online influencers alike gathered at Maker’s House, Soho to see creative director Christopher Bailey debut his new collection.
The night started with an electric guitar chord, and the hazy voice of Anna Calvi along with her band and members of the Heritage Orchestra & Choir. Live music is always an important part of Burberry shows, and this year was no exception with Christopher Bailey’s newest discovery. Bailey seemed set to combine as many art forms as possible this LFW.
It seemed that Bailey relied on the sculptures of Henry Moore to enhance the show. The infamous sculpture ‘Mother and Child’ was placed beside the runway, between guests such as Penelope Cruz and Tinie Tempah. Anna Wintour was seated opposite Draped Reclining Mother and Baby. The sculptures themselves transcended their role as a spectacle for the audience; instead the art proved as ample inspiration for the clothes themselves.
The big sculptures present the natural body in an abstract form. For this show, Christopher Bailey took direct inspiration from Moore’s sculptures. He even worked closely with Moore’s daughter and took notes from the artists personal style in the lead up to the show. This is perhaps more evident in the forms of the silhouettes; bold shapes, exaggerated cuffs, shoulder details and deconstructed garments. With the smooth lines of the art surrounding the catwalk, it was easy for the audience to see how this translated into the slick curvature of the clothes. Ruffles, frills, lace and abstract hems gave the effect of a sculptor creating his own piece of art on the human body.
This show was all about the shoulder. Grey jumpers with embroidery details, white ruffles, denim details. You name it, Bailey made a variation of it. Model after model appeared wearing some sort of upper accessory. Coming out of the recent AW16 season, the high street saw an epidemic of ruffles. Judging by Burberry’s new AW17 show, the trend appears to show no sign of dying out. Instead we should all expect to see more ruffles and shoulder details this upcoming Autumn. In terms of colour, this collection varies greatly from the previous bold prints and exuberant metallics. Bailey seemed to be in a very stripped back and organic head space, with stripped back navy, whites, blues and blacks dominating this catwalk. The clothes, instead focused on craftsmanship, tailoring and different textures in order to echo the omnipotent sculptures surrounding the room.
The one piece of tailoring that seemed to prevail this collection was the humble cape. Particularly popular in 19th century Britain and important in the 161 years of Burberry history, the cape took a new reimagining in 2017. Capes in feather, lace, plastic- even one made entirely from crystal. Furthermore, in order to kick start the buy-it-now form shows have been adopting, Kendall Jenner picked up her own chunky knit cape worn to a party later that night.
In light of another successful show, where clean cut silhouettes and smart tailoring hinted at what is to come this AW17 season, one prevailing thought on everybody’s mind. The role of fashion in art. There is a long standing debate on it’s position, but Bailey has just reminded the public, by drawing inspiration from Moore and echoing his style, that he is the ultimate artist. Translating work from sculpture to human is no easy feat. Not only did Bailey prove the place of London as a credible fashion event, he also blurred the rigid lines between fashion and art, reminding us that designers remain some of the best and most successful artists there are.
‘Fashion now is much more than a product. It’s about entertainment and people feeling a part of something’