The military influence on Christopher Bailey's new collection was so overt as to beg the question about its connection to current events. But Bailey insisted it was the romance of uniforms that inspired himand, more specifically, the idea of the young princes William and Harry at Sandhurst Military Academy. Such a notion ties in with Bailey's ongoing exploration of Burberry's English heritage, but that wasn't the only way he dealt with the past. Thomas Burberry kitted out the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton (his fur mitts are a star item in the Burberry archives) and any number of World War I generals, and the spirit of those old warriors hovered over Bailey's outerwear. (There was even a pair of fur mitts.)
A post-show Bailey talked about transferring the volume of outerwear to knitwear, and playing with menswear proportions in the same way that a designer is able to toy with the dimensions of womenswear, which added up to a radically oversized cardigan with buckled closings, or poor-boy knits that hung well below the hem of leanly tailored jackets. It was very much an expression of a mood the designer called "more formal but still a scruffy English kid." Not so scruffy were a pale-gold trench, a heavily grained leather jacket in olive drab, and an epauletted shearling, any one of which added a luxe edge to Thomas Burberry's functional repertoire.