Accolades go to Christopher Bailey for being one of those rare young designers who can orchestrate the components of a collectionclothes, accessories, brand identityand infuse it all with a sense of lightness, as well as originality. At Burberry, he said, "the whole thing is to look as if you've just thrown it on"in other words, like Karen Elson as she breezed out with an airy pale-blue raincoat over a flowered dress: nonchalant, pretty, and very English in the bargain.
Those qualities played throughout the showin the face-powder-pink leather trench, blue-and-white patchwork quilted linen skirts, fine-striped yellow-and-white knits, and even in the experimental volume of looped-up dresses. Behind all that seemingly casual ease, though, is an impressively thought-out sense of continuity.
Take Bailey's constant reinvention of the iconic trench: Now, it's a puff-sleeved smock. Or the way he always works in scarveshere, as feminine, wispy trails sometimes edged with pearls or a frill. Bailey makes sure to add in some Britishness; this season, with Wedgwood blue-and-white and Clarice Cliff Deco ceramics for print inspiration, and "English spider" brooches. To keep it from cloying, he tossed in some shiny techno fabric or a nutty pair of sixties sunglasses for fun.
Burberry's bags looked pretty fantastic, too, like the chunky brown leather picnic bag, or a great new shoulder bag Bailey calls a "sack," that ties in a bow at the shoulder. He's even reclaimed the famous beige-black-red check, in little leather-trimmed purses and totes.