Christopher Bailey finally did it. He showed a traditional Burberry trench, not cropped or colored or fiddled with in any way. What's more, he draped it over the shoulders of a model clad in a navy-blue suit, with smartly patterned shirt and tie. Thus did Bailey well and truly and, yes, unambiguously embrace the heritage of the house he has helped transform into a billion-dollar business. The inspiration for this particular outfit was the interior design guru David Hicks, the latest in a steadily lengthening line of Bailey's ineffably English icons. The spirit of Hicks presided over a section of the show marked by tailoring of a new sophistication for Bailey, albeit one leavened by a got-dressed-in-the-dark sense of playful eccentricity (collegiate-striped trousers clashing with a shirt in a '70s print that was sheer Hicks).
There was also a pair of carefully worn denims, with a crease pressed into them, that only a man of a certain age would sport. And he would probably be English, as would be the shameless wearer of the floral-printed short shorts Bailey sent out in the show's second section, inspired by Lord Snowdon holiday-making on Mustique. Bailey made it a hat trick with his third guiding light, Patrick Lichfield, who, in the '60s, photographed and modeled for Burberry campaigns. The military- and safari-influenced jackets and the leather bomber, all with huge gold buttons, were just the sort of garb favored by an adventurous aristo of Lichfield's ilkand, like Hicks and Snowdon, he would never feel he was compromising his masculinity by adding peach or aqua pastels to his wardrobe.