The might of Burberry continues to grow. Not content with the mega-players - Dior, Chanel and co - getting all the pre-collection attention, for the first time women’s pre was mixed in with today’s menswear show, marking it's runway debut. Christopher Bailey was flexing muscle in other ways as well. Craft and the made-in-England tag informed much of the offering, from the Scottish cashmere to the trenches, which were put together in Castleford. The fine lace that ran through the collection also suggested meticulous detail and fine workmanship. The slim silhouette - evident in ‘The Chelsea’, Burberry’s new fit, the fourth in their offer – was the big story of the show, hence the title, ‘Straight-laced’. ‘Straight’ is an interesting word for Burberry. There was certainly a severe aspect to the show, an element that at its best feels polished and at its worse chilly or emotionless. But then how could you not sense that at a show that's cost is in the millions? It’s certainly not going to feel rough-around-the-edges, but because of that it can feel sexless, despite all the sheers. Even some saucy animal print and relaxed cashmere joggers couldn’t stop proceeds from feeling stiff.
Burberry walks a fine line between feeling elevated and aspirational, and totally immediate, obtainable and available. There’s something obliging about the efficiency with which they offer product. The press release was keen to inform us that, ‘Selected outerwear, bags and scarves can be ordered and personalised on Burberry.com or by appointment in selected stores globally, allowing consumers the chance to own pieces of the collection months before they arrive in store.’ In the next breath it informed us that, ‘British musician Rhodes performed the live soundtrack to the show, accompanied by a 24-piece orchestra conducted by Joe Duddell. All songs are available to download on iTunes from today.’ A downloadable song and a thousand pound bag - served with the same speed and ease. Fashion aside, immediacy is what Burberry win at, and in the current climate, that counts.