Christopher Bailey's ability to keep changing, and yet stay in lockstep with Burberry brand identity, could be set as an M.B.A. study in effective fashion design. For Fall, he simply glanced at the Burberry Prorsum logoa medieval knight on a chargerand took it from there. "It's the same Burberry girl. She's just rocking a bit more," he said, describing a tougher, sexier look he extrapolated from the look of armor, tunics, and jousting regalia. It was hardly Sir Galahad, though; rather a matter of a full metal-studded trench, a pair of quilted patent gauntlets, and some thigh-high patent boots.
That, at least, is what a Notting Hill girl might extract from this collection. Othersi.e., those belonging to the more upscale, sophisticated, and international extended Burberry clan Bailey has builtwill doubtless gravitate toward a velvety shaved-mink coat, bearing a minimal vestige of a trench in the storm-flap in back, or a superluxe quilted python puffer. Bailey, of course, has an iron grip on making the Burberry trenchcoat current for the label's broad bandwidth of customers. This season, beige gabardine and checks gave way to zippy padded anoraks with big fold-over collars and, latterly, silver-armor embroidery and rich jacquard flower- and leaf-patterned coats. That is, something for everyone, without veering from the plot.
For those tuned to a high-fashion frequency, the collection also registered a hint of the body-conscious dressing (in this case, layered over knits) and the belted, short, full-skirted Alaïa-esque silhouette that is coming out of London. Burberry, after all, is based in the English capital, and Christopher Bailey is that city's most accomplished example of what can be done when young design is melded with commerce.