Burberry's show is planned down to the last inch of camel fabric - every detail considered from start to finish. An hour before the show we all received an email telling us not just that the show would start promptly at 13:00 GMT to facilitate the livestream, but that the doors would lock on the dot. Intense. Lateness doesn’t stand in the meticulously considered world of Christopher Bailey. Those who felt that there were few digital ‘innovations’ left for Burberry to tap into were proved wrong - the brand announced that they’d be streaming the show, and the signature live music performance, this time from Benjamin Clementine, live on the new Burberry app for Apple - ‘a first for a fashion brand on the platform' - they were keen to inform us.
While Burberry like to be the leaders in tech, they’re happy to follow when it comes to the fashion. Others do it first, then Burberry gets on board. So like the show, the collection feels intensely planned - it doesn't feel so much the result of creative whims or flashes of inspiration, rather meetings, strategy reports and trend predictions. Sometimes you wonder if it was built off the back of market research. But then that makes it hard to dislike - it's a palatable, pleasing mashup of the hits and high notes of more daring designers, packaged in a more commercial, polished format. There were bits of Marni and Balenciaga in the mix, alongside a fair amount of Jonathan Anderson and some nods to what’s happening amongst fashion’s favourite sportswear brands, notably adidas. Those of us who also report on womenswear also noted that the A/W 16 Burberry fellow would make a good partner for the S/S 16 track-suited Chloe girl. All in all, it's apt that this collection was titled ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.' The ‘old’ probably referred to the archive elements - the military details and re-issued trenches - the ‘new’ to the tech and the ‘borrowed’ to those designers listed above. The blue is harder to pin down - red was the standout hue from this show. It appeared as piping, on collars and cuffs and, in all its glory, on Royal Tenenbaums trackie tops.
Quibbles about originality aside, the collection worked well - it felt freer than usual, and because of that, fresh and relevant. Tellingly those at Burberry HQ had changed the show space layout - rather than sitting in formal tiered seating, we were placed on benches that marked out a snaking walkway for models to stride down. It was a more intimate set-up. Less like a concert, more like a fashion show. The clothes too felt more informal - relaxed even. Bombers were layered over zip-up tops, as were long tailored coats and jackets, while retro puffas came worn with suit trousers. It felt modern - after all, few divide their wardrobes into day and night, smart and casual anymore. This mashup was a nod to changing dress patterns and the new freedom of the male consumer. The collection worked best at its easiest and freest - in the way layers had been seemingly thrown together. It fell flat when it felt forced - a sequins zip-through sports top felt gimmicky and awkwardly opulent, while over-designed furs seemed outdated. Forget those and almost every other look was a winner.