1856. The year Burberry was established.
1928. The year Virginia Woolf’s novel, Orlando: A Biography, was published.
2016. The year they both came together in what resulted in the most emotional of runway presentations by Creative Director Christopher Bailey yet.
Held at a space that was once a legendary bookshop on Charing Cross Road in a building, now renamed Makers House, the ground floor ‘exhibited’ The New Craftsmen, calligraphers, weavers, sculptors and the like. There was a lady who made tassels, a man who specialised in gilding gold leaf and even a pair of restoration artists who had on display a 150-year-old wooden spiral staircase they hauled back in pieces from France and brought back to life. These craftsmen were perfectly aligned with the inspiration behind the show, that of Woolf’s novel setting the mood for the evening. And while the setting was ‘old-world’ and the crafts exhibited were ‘old-school’ (Bailey even had a carpet woven specially for the length of the runway), everything that came down the runway (all 83 looks for men and women comprising some 250 pieces that you could buy now, like right now), wasn’t.
Yes, there were Shakespearean frills by way of collars and sleeve cuffs, an equestrian-style coat (and a cape) with tassels many in the audience loved, even silk-like pyjama top and bottoms for both men and women in prints from multi-colour stripes to ornate prints one would usually see on grand tapestries hanging on the walls of fine English homes. There were trench coats, there were oversized blazers, there were bomber jackets. There were pieces one could wear in temperate countries, and pieces one could wear in tropical countries, perfectly fulfilling Bailey’s idea of a non-seasonal collection, one that anyone, anywhere in the world, could wear at any time.
And that was what was presented on the second level of Makers House, with a 21-piece orchestra playing a soundtrack composed specially for the runway show. In that glorified setting, sitting atop tapestry-covered benches, with the orchestra playing as the models plied up and down the runway, it all made sense. It also made the most emotional of connections with me; I’ve been blessed to attend most of Burberry’s runway presentations since 2010, and this one was by far the best, from the interactions I’ve had with the craftsmen to watching the show in person, and finally, being given the opportunity to #seenowbuynow, because who would want to wait up to 6 months for something that already set your heart on fire, right?
Watch the full runway presentation for yourself right here. And right after you’re done, just head over to www.burberry.com and shop to your hearts’ content. Or visit Burberry boutiques at ION Orchard, Marina Bay Sands and Paragon to have an up-close and personal look for yourself.
Images & Video: Burberry