Christopher Bailey's trip to the Burberry archives last season helped him to the best men's collection of his career with the company, and he hit pay dirt again with Spring's return visit. A stash of early twentieth-century biker gear designed by the very forward-thinking Thomas Burberry gave him the idea for his "heritage biker" collection. It was another spectacular outing.
Bailey may have made his rep with collections that leaned toward wistful melancholia, but the harder he goes, the better the clothes seem to get. Fall's precise military-influenced tailoring was still obvious in khaki trenches and naval officer's coats, but here they'd been given details like leather epaulettes and studded belts. The biker influence loomed in vests, coats, pants, and jackets, the last one out especially lethal with its stretch of spiked studs. To temper the toughness, Bailey paired a biker vest with jersey pants, motocross leathers with a luxe suede trench, and a sheer safari shirt with a studded vest. That balance between boyish vulnerability and male strength is quintessential Bailey.
He also showed studded or domed gilets that he claimed were a direct line from Thomas. They looked like something from the Middle Ages, and so did the studded hybrids of gladiator sandals and Birkenstocks the models wore on their feet. You could picture Bailey's boy warriors marching out to take on the world to the angry-young-man sound of the Animals that accompanied the show. One caveat: Come spring, they'll get hot in all that hide.