Nottingham, in the U.K.'s Midlands, was once the center of the world's lace production. Now, there's a sleeping giant waiting for Christopher Bailey to give it a good poke. Which he duly did with his latest collection. If his promotion of Nottingham lace also seemed like an advertisement for the biggest underpants known to womankind, that was merely one of the more logical facets of his celebration of the English Rose, a woman who probably couldn't give a good goddamn about thongs and such. So there was something of that sturdy stereotype, the vicar's wife, in the way that Bailey laid a cashmere cardi—maybe with the sleeves knotted interestingly in back—over a lace skirt. And here comes the sexy librarian in her polka-dot blouse and high-waist pencil skirt.
The voluminous, soft-shoulder outerwear in which he swathed his models hinted at nothing underneath—or so suggested Bailey. His time spent brooding on erstwhile inspiration Christine Keeler has clearly left a residual appreciation of subliminal erotica. In the madhouse that swirled around him after the show, Bailey claimed he wanted to celebrate strong women rather than the bloodless wraiths who have often haunted the Burberry catwalk. There was indeed something ample, shapely, generous about the silhouettes here. It made for a substantial showing from Bailey. And he gratifyingly showed that he appreciates the thorn in the English Rose: Cara Delevingne wore latex for her finale.
Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear
September 16, 2013 London
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