It's easy to see why the business media is infatuated with Burberry: the quarterly increases, the burgeoning billions, the promise of the biggest buyout in fashion history when the time and money are right... But if all of that adds a swaggering sheen to the bottom line, it distracts from the fact that there was once a time when Christopher Bailey was shaping an idiosyncratic little personal fashion statement out of a 155-year-old heritage brand. Maybe that penny has dropped for him, because he claimed his latest men's collection was a reaction to the digitalization of modern culture. If by that he meant the grand mechanical leveling of human creativity, then he can point to Burberry itself, which has artfully utilized all the technology at its disposal to grow its business. But the house also has a history rooted in the artisan, and that is what Bailey chose to celebrate with an invigorating collection that gloried in handcrafted quirk and eccentricity. He could hardly have come up with a better antidote to corporate giantism.

It was obvious from the outset as the endearing bombast of Muse filled the room, rather than the low-key indie rock that Bailey often favors. There was instantly more texture, more color, more general waywardness as opposed to the strong, single-minded statements the designer has opted for of late. Woven raffia bobble caps and cork-soled woven suede mocs topped and tailed the collection. Parkas, coats, and jackets were revamped with raffia trim or crocheted, beaded collars, almost as though some nimble-fingered hippie mum had got it into her head to customize her son's outerwear, in the process giving old favorites a new personality. That was kind of the picture Bailey was painting, of handcrafters in the north of England keeping tradition alive. It was a lovely image when it was attached to odd pagan details like the felt bird saddle-stitched to a white shirt or the multicolored wooden paillettes applied on a T-shirt in a sun-ray pattern. They cued the colorful, graphic knitwear (the stretched necks were a nice Withnail touch) and the ikat patterns on pants, shirts, and even the uppers of those mocs.