The heritage brand leads the charge for whole new era
For a 160-year-old brand, Burberry is always on the front line of innovation, ready to tackle newness, bedecked in military trenches and heritage checks. Well, fortune favours the brave and the Burberry ‘September 2016 Show’ made history at London Fashion Week SS17 last night with its see-and-shop, gender-neutral show.
Burberry’s Chief Creative and CEO Christopher Bailey has embraced live streaming since 2010, Snapchat since 2015 and now, has enthusiastically unveiled the brand’s inaugural see-and-shop collection.
‘Tonight’s show marked a very special moment for us - it was the culmination of a series of important changes we made designed to bring our collections closer to our customers,’ Bailey explained. ‘The collection was influenced by Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando - a love letter to the past and to English history, and a kind of dressing up box to visit and revisit.’
Burberry has symbolically and literally bid farewell to the past, and beckoned the future of the fashion show. This is everything you need to know:
The majestic venue Decamping from its long-serving base at Kensington Gardens, the Burberry show inhabited the Makers House in London's Soho - an ornate building set-designed as an atelier for the show. Inside, guests mingled among the makers at work, and the walls were mocked up as mood boards.
The catwalk spanned across three rooms, painted in dusty hues of pink, green and yellow to resonate with the colour palette of the collection. The walls of the venue were kept bare - a nod to the past and to the people who had inhabited the building before, divulged the show notes. Famed 20th-century interior designer Nancy Lancaster inspired intricate details including fabric-covered benches and a hand-woven carpet.
There was also a sculpture garden where the guests could socialise post-show, and no doubt discuss which pieces they have their eyes on.
The guest list of Burberry muses and fans Deep breath: Lily James (already sporting the collection, naturally), Felicity Jones, Jenna Coleman, Nicholas Hoult, Kris Wu, Freida Pinto, Charlotte Le Bon, Ella Purnell, Burberry models Edie Campbell, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, and Clara Paget, as well as Mario Testino, Steve McQueen, Alexa Chung, Poppy Delevingne, Adwoa Aboah and Olivia Palermo made up the front row royalty.
Alexa and Cara were the style stand-outs; Alexa for her glittering GIRLS-emblazoned hair barrette by Ashley Williams, and Cara for her unique, chest-to-chin body make up.
No Burberry show would be complete without an elaborate live set. From Tom Odell’s rendition of his haunting hit Hold Me at the AW13 show, to last season’s epic performance from Alison Moyet, yesterday a 21-piece orchestra accompanied by pianist Rosey Chan and vocalists, performed Reliquary which was written by British composer Ilan Eshkeri (the man behind the Still Alice and Stardust scores) exclusively for the show. In another technologically savvy move, the full show soundtrack is available to purchase now through iTunes and to stream on Apple Music.
The models Lineisy Montero and Hayett McCarthy led a casting of cool girls and boys including British one-to-watch Maya Gunn. With pacy strides, they filed out as a sea of faces with natural hair and minimal make-up. Styled to the point of gender ambiguity, the look was conceived by Burberry Make-up Artistic Consultant Wendy Rowe, under the creative direction of Bailey, and was created using The Runway Edit, Burberry’s make-up capsule collection, which was inspired by the show and is also available to shop now.
The collection One of Burberry’s most stunning collections to date, the clothes blended streetwear favourites denim and sweatshirts with luxe cashmere and pyjama silks, blurring the lines between relaxed and formal, masculine and feminine, and night and day.
As we previously revealed, the collection was inspired by by Virginia Woolf's Orlando (a story in which the protagonist changes from a man to a woman). A copy of the novel, which was published in 1928 and turned into a film starring Tilda Swinton in the 90s, was placed on each seat.
The key pieces include a sculptural white and navy military jacket (above), which is the most expensive piece in the collection at £3,995. At the other end of the scale is a pair of printed pyjama-style for shorts for £350.
Our fantasy shopping list includes the deconstructed trench coats, corset-waist knitted jumpers and the show-stopping XL cuff shearling jackets. And naturally, the all-new Bridle Bag, worn by men and women, which takes its inspiration from classic British equestrian designs. We’ll be on bag-watch during Milan and Paris Fashion Week to see who wears it first.
See it (and shop it) for yourself
Makers House is open to visitors from 21 to 27 September, showcasing a display of the entire September 2016 Burberry collection. There’s also a daily changing programme of activities and installations of the incredible works of some of Britain’s finest craft makers. Or, go ahead and shop it now on Burberry.com or partnering retail sites such as MyTheresa.com.
'I am very positive about this new approach because it gives more choice and allows brands and retailers to have an immediate customer response,' Michael Kliger, President of My Theresa told us this morning, after the ecommerce site had already been selling the collection since the show's finale. 'But to be clear, product appeal still comes first regardless of how quickly it becomes available. Burberry really created an aspirational, beautiful collection and mixed it with a new approach to their show and the instant availability. We partnered with Burberry on the livestream on our home, offered real time social media coverage and a shoppable video. The immediate response from our customers has been really positive: we saw a clear increase in additional sales as See Now Buy Now allows true impulse shopping and the feeling of being first.'
Is this the future of the fashion show as we know it?