Christopher Bailey makes such perfect sense of his work for Burberry that all anyone could ever wish for would be his voice in your ear while you watch his shows. For his latest collection, he imagined the late artist/filmmaker Derek Jarman in his garden at Dungeness, a hardscrabble stretch of English seaside perched next to a nuclear reactor. So there was a floppy Panama hat like Jarman's, prints that looked like raindrops or mud splotches, and a dour color palette that ran a gamut of moss, stone, peat, bark, and pewter.
But more than anything, there was an air of melancholy; Bailey understands that there is sensuality in sadness. So the droop of his scoop-neck tops managed to bare the clavicle as a new erogenous zone (don't try this one at homethe pigeon chest is a bequest of English genetics). He insisted that the collection was actually all about outerweartrenches, coats, jacketswhich is why he wanted to let the air in to the skin below. That must have been why, bare flesh aside, there were also wool gauze tees and shirts in a washed-out broderie anglaise. Bailey called his collection "Crumpled Classics," which accounted for the vintage flavor of many of the clothes. It's a lovely idea, pieces that have already acquired a life through being worn and loved. But it's also sad, much like the richness of nature surviving in the sobering shadow of the Bomb.