Post-show, an elated Christopher Bailey said the key to his new collection could be found in the Waterboys song that accompanied the finale. As its title suggests, it celebrates the triumph of "Spirit" in the face of adversity, and it's not hard to see how the words must resonate for Bailey, who in the past year has had to cope with the death of his partner. In fact, the clothes he designed for next spring were a celebration not only of spirit, but also of soul. The spirit soared watching the closing all-white passage, with its blinding patent trench and sparkling sequined sweater over full linen trousers. The soul was satisfied by the sense of mischievous inner life the clothes conveyed: the silver lamé shirt that peeked out from under a fine-gauge knit top, for instance, or the cashmere T-shirts in aqua, eau de nil, and pink that were worn insouciantly with the suits that dominated the collection.
Jackets were tailored right to the body, with broad, peaked shoulders, nipped waists and a flare of volume in the skirt that was carried over to full trousers with deep pleats. On the catwalk, the sleeves were pushed up to achieve the "disheveled elegance" Bailey feels is the true Burberry look (they made for a surprisingly winning nod to the Durannie eighties). The same off-kilter charm was evident in evening details showing up for dayshirts with pleated fronts, trousers with beaded stripes. And, taking a cue from his last women's collection, Bailey offered coats with big buttons and a little swing. They're likely to be as big a hit here as there.