For Christopher Bailey, the title of his latest Burberry show, Town and Field, signified two worlds whose codes didn't match. And he wanted to try and make them. It was a kind of metaphor for Bailey's big challenge of the moment—merging Burberry's physical and digital aspects—which sounds like a much more daunting task than sticking herringbone bellows pockets on a tweed pencil skirt, one of the ways field met town in today's show. Another striking match was the brown corduroy jacket belted over a burgundy lace skirt with a substantial peplum.
The peplum and nipped waist were vintage details Bailey carried over from pre-fall, with its echoes of the thirties and forties, but where that collection tended more to the austerity of the war years, this one had a little more flounce. Another key piece was a pencil skirt with a big diagonal ruffle. It had some shimmy to counterbalance the peplum's occasional clunk. And it said "town" whatever piece of cropped outerwear it was paired with. So did floral-print faille and the tiers of fringes on Jourdan Dunn's cocktail dress. "Field" was represented by a herringbone jacket lined in shearling, a waxed cotton parka, and country critters like sparrows, owls, and doggies naïvely embroidered on shirts, and printed or appliquéd on oversize striped tees. A capacious bottle green cardigan was comfy enough for country life, but its stylish swing back gave it some urban smarts.
Such an item suggested that, Bailey's reservations aside, the division between city and country was really somewhat artificial in a collection that wove a story out of Burberry's outerwear expertise and Bailey's ongoing fascination with casually gilded youth. There's something almost melancholy about such an idea. Gilded youth will inevitably tarnish. Maybe that's why rain is a recurrent motif in Burberry-world. Today's show climaxed with an artful thundershower beating down on the transparent tent, while faux rain fell inside on the brolly-bearing models. Then again, perhaps the rain was just another metaphor, this time for all the money showering down on Burberry.