Burberry's monumental success over the last decade or so sprung from its ability to create pure luxury. Its studded trenches and thick, perfectly crafted aviator jackets flew off the shelves because, while they were accessible in terms of wearability, they wreaked of luxury. Today's Autumn/Winter 2013 show was pegged as a celebration of the 150-year-old brand's classic pieces - trenches, beautiful coats and perfect elegant tailoring. It should have been a celebration of fantastic British design and exclusive elegance. Instead it felt just that little bit too available. There was not a great enough distinction between these pieces and the clothing that is now available so readily elsewhere. Given the combination of an incredible design archive, and a dynamic talent in Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s clothes should never look familiar or copyable.
Maybe Burberry's passion for the Internet has diluted the panache and intrigue of their brand. After all, when you can tweet, stream, ‘like’ and pre-order a collection right as it’s showing live it's hard to find time to actually covet it as something distant and desirable.
It's telling that this collection was named 'I heart classics' (with the heart as an emoticon). This was classic with a very modern spin - age old pieces, shoehorned into a sellable formula that would, in Burberry’s view, work for the young, digital age. So otherwise discreet bags came crafted in showy animal skins, while the iconic trench was reworked in translucent rubber. Even luxurious knits came sporting a teen-friendly heart print.
The relationship between something so inherently exclusive as high fashion and the Internet, with its mass-market nature, is always going to be a tricky one. Burberry has led the way in many respects. But today's collection felt too much like Bailey and his team were trying to give their followers exactly what they already want right now, rather than attempting to up the ante and give them something they could lust after, cherish and adore.