LONDON — The color variety, the rich textures and the intricate patterns: Christopher Bailey didn't hold back on Burberry's highly anticipated September collection, presented Monday night during London Fashion Week.
Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando and 20th-century tastemaker Nancy Lancaster’s interior and garden designs, the "see-now, buy-now" collection paid homage to the Victorian era with high-neck ruffles, band jackets, military tailcoats, floral jacquard jackets and tapestry-print dresses. The show was heightened by the live orchestra's dramatic score.
BURBERRY BABES: Models on Burberry's September runway. (Photos: Getty Images)
Practically every look was layered, creating a strong clash of prints. For example, there was a sweatshirt jacket with delicate ruffles on the sleeves layered over a geometric- print gown, over a vivid floral pajama-style shirt and shorts awash in watercolor roses. Too much? Nah. The Brits have always loved print and pattern as a refuge from all the drizzle, as seen on the day of the Burberry show.
The runway models weren't the only ones to wear the collection during the show; Burberry muses Lily James and Jourdan Dunn also sported Bailey's latest designs in the front row. Felicity Jones, Cara Delevingne, Nicholas Hoult, Frieda Pinto, Jenna Coleman, Charlotte Le Bon and models Adwoa Aboah and Edie Campbell had the best seats in the house. But every showgoer got a paperback copy of Orlando as a seat gift.
FRONT-ROW ROYALTY: Edie Campbell (left), Adwoa Aboah, Cara Delevingne, Lily James and Felicity Jones. (Photo: Getty Images)
Le Bon was accompanied by power stylist Jeff Kim, who also works with Michael B. Jordan, Kate Walsh and Demi Lovato. While Kim told Pret-a-Reporter that he loved all the looks, a standout was the men's herringbone gray coat. "It was to die for," said Kim, who was actually a Burberry employee before becoming a celeb stylist. Could that particular coat make it onto Jordan? "There is a potential, you never know," he teased.
Fellow wardrobe wizard Tara Swennen, who dresses Kristen Stewart and Julie Bowen, shared, "It's Bailey's attention to detail that I love the most. The collars, the jacquard — it's all so rich."
Lucky for fans, the 83 men's and women's outfits, comprising more than 250 pieces, from the show are already available for purchase both in stores and at Burberry.com. The looks from the presentation were first teased via a campaign ad starring Cavan McCarthy, Alex Dragulele and Jean Campbell, as well as James and Zoe Saldana on the red carpet.
"The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves," said Bailey, chief creative officer, in a statement. "Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From live-streaming, to ordering straight from the runway, to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve."
VICTORIAN VICTORY: Models on Burberry's September runway. (Photos: Getty Images)
The first consumer-facing presentation was held at Makers House in the heart of London's Soho, replacing Kensington Gardens as the British luxury label's new runway venue.
As part of its September show, the fashion brand also partnered with The New Craftsmen (a network of over 75 makers working in textiles, silverware, furniture, ceramics, jewelry and glassware) to showcase the work of British artisans and their products in a weeklong exhibit, Sept. 21-27, at the venue space. A number of selected craftsmen — a sculptor and a textile designer included — were on-site pre- and post-presentation, showcasing their talent to attendees during a champagne reception.
Moving forward, Burberry will combine its womenswear and menswear to present two shows a year instead of four. The fashion house is hoping the transition to seasonless and immediate collections will close the gap between when consumers see the collection and when they can purchase. Will this new process work in Burberry's favor? We'll find out soon.