Christopher Bailey has figured out the one thing he has to do above all else at Burberry: Keep the trench hot, of course. He did exactly that from the first exit: a rumpled, classic old mac that was luxed up with bands of fox at the hem and cuff. That set the template for a collection he said was based on photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; the show had a couture-ish kind of sensibility, lightened up with, as he put it, "that sloppy way of wearing things only young British girls have. Sloppy is good."
In the country, Wallis Simpson might've worn English checks, so Bailey set about fashioning double-breasted coat dresses with deep pockets, worn with nutty cable-knit hats. Thinking more about the Duchess' extended sojourn in Paris, perhaps, he came up with wool trenches smothered in mink from belt to hem, as well as skimpily delicate ecru and black chantilly lace versions for a notional dinner at Maxim's. He also brought in a lot of Burberry in-house symbolism along the way, making classic country jacket quilting jump from bags to leather jackets to velvet evening coats, and using the leather-covered D-ring of the raincoat belt on cylindrical-heel pumps and bags. The gold-link bracelets and the new oversize sunglass frames offered more evidence of Burberry's burgeoning product lines.
Classic with playful, casual with dressy, young with grown-upthat made for another season well done as Bailey hurried backstage to say "Hello, mate" to Kate Moss in front of an avalanche of photographers. It's not unimpressive, what he's achieving here. That such a whippersnapper has been able to turn the frumpy old country lady's Burberry into a fashionable thing for the first time in its 150 years is in fact something of a cause for national pride in Britain. And it's that new energy as much as the milestone itself that the brand is celebrating this year.