At the age of 30, Christopher Bailey is the creative director of one of the largest and most broadly based fashion brands in the world. He shoulders the responsibility for making Burberry’s many product lines both cool enough for hipsters and classic enough for conservatives, a balancing act that he carries out with almost preternatural maturity. Yet his being only 30 may explain why his Fall collection for Burberry Prorsum, the house’s designer collection, was shot through with flashbacks to the 1980s. He is, after all, a child of that decade.
Bailey wisely dispensed with forced references to the Burberry plaid (been there, done that) while making rainwear a link through the show. A printed nylon mac was humorously patterned with an English country sceneincluding a cartoon of the Burberry horseman logowhich, he said, had been drawn up in the studio. The label’s weatherproof reputation was preserved, thanks to an acid-yellow parka, a slick black rain poncho and matte-black leather trenches, accessorized with bright bags featuring flaps to contain matching umbrellas.
The 80s references came via searing shots of colorleaf green, mint, royal blue, apricot and yellowand a penchant for jersey leggings. There were plenty of the neat little jackets, in washed cottons and puffy leather, that Bailey does so well. He also layered on raw-edged, crinkled stretch-chiffon wrap dresses, and he came up with some cool sweaters in contrasting blocks of New Age stripes. After that, it got a bit puzzling.
Why the strange cuts with the raised, inside-out seaming? And why not some more stuff for the grown-ups? Overall, the collection did not come off as fully resolved. On the other hand, Bailey’s heart is in the right place. After the show, he said he “wanted energy, color, something to make people feel better.” And we can all relate to that.