What came first, the chicken or the egg?
That’s what we ask when it comes to evolution. When it comes to fashion it seems that the equivalent question is what came first, designer Christopher Bailey’s idea or the trend? Such has been the impact of Burberry upon fashion of late that it’s been hard to know whether Bailey, as their Chief Creative Officer, is impeccable at spotting fashion trends in their infancy or is such an effective communicative designer that the rest of us are happy to follow along with his vision. To put it in perspective, past seasons of Burberry Prorsum have inarguably been one of the greatest forces behind the military, biker and punk fashion trends as we’ve come to know them.
With Burberry Prorsum’s men’s spring / summer 2012 collection I think we may finally know the answer: Christopher Bailey is impeccable at spotting the road that fashion is to travel down and brilliant at designing clothes and accessories for the destination point, even though most of us are blissfully unaware that we’re on such a trip.
Look over Burberry’s latest catwalk offering and you’ll see much of what you expect from the label interpreted through a theme that is likely to feel completely fresh for menswear. Yet whittle down to the details and you’ll find the elements that are certain to give Burberry Prorsum’s next offering its popularity: the men’s spring 2012 fashion trends that count. Each of them is there, from overarching 60s and 70s fashion elements to the emerging loose fit menswear that is certain to capture the imagination.
But first to that theme.
Or should I say themes. There isn’t a sole theme that defines Burberry Prorsum‘s men’s spring 2012 offering, but instead several are worked, weaved and fused together throughout the collection. The theme that is likely to capture your eye relies on the use of American Indian motifs and ikat prints, and I suspect that for a lot of people who view the collection as a whole it’ll be this theme that makes or breaks it for them. After all, it is there in force and worked across everything from cork soled moccasins to bold prints.
And yet to say that Christopher Bailey’s latest menswear work relies wholly on such a theme would be to greatly underestimate it. There’s a larger theme going on, one that sees hippie meet mod. Hence the use of hand shredded raffia trims and wooden bead detachable collars and trims. Hence the use of storm hoods and fishtail parkas. For Bailey has seen the destination in fashion’s current journey and it is two-fold. With the current exploration of a 1970s revival soon to feel done the designer reboots it in summer 2012 to alternate hippie origins in much the same way that he so successfully rebooted military fashion over several seasons. And alongside that theme he and Burberry continue the slight reinterpretation of early 1960s, mod fashion. Early 70s, early 60s. In that order. When it comes to 2012’s fashion trends, watch these themes and know that they are trends.
Trends that Bailey wove against other men’s 2012 fashion trends. Some will see the relaxed feel of Burberry Prorsum’s spring / summer 2012 offering for men as a theme. But it honestly isn’t. This is another of the destinations for men’s fashion in coming years. The carrot leg, drop crotch trousers and pleated pants all feature Burberry overtones and work cohesively with the 60s and 70s tones, but understand that they are part of a wider menswear movement. One Bailey has spotted and will, when we’re honest, help shape and propel.
While it’s likely to be the cuts, colours and patterns that keeps everyone talking, Burberry Prorsum is ultimately a label that does much to incorporate the heritage that Burberry as a whole offers up. As such when you look past the themes that dominate to the details that count you’ll see all the hallmarks one expects of a Burberry Prorsum men’s collection. There are wood toggles, horn buttons, luggage stitching and throat latches aplenty, and for the most part such details are hand crafted. Which is precisely what Christopher Bailey wanted of the collection, “this collection started with our iconic heritage as the foundation, we really wanted to emphasise this feeling of handcrafted pieces.” Have a handcrafted feel it might, yet Burberry Prorsum’s men’s spring 2012 collection certainly doesn’t rest on its laurels when it comes to heritage: the fashion house’s Nova check is scarcely visible amongst the range, appearing solely as a lining. Ever a good thing.
Burberry Prorsum’s men’s spring / summer 2012 collection was shown at Milan fashion week and (it gives me a great thrill to write this, so loathing am I of the ‘wait six months before you can buy it’ nature of catwalks) key pieces can already be pre-ordered on Burberry’s website for delivery in about 8 weeks’ time. You can view the entire collection by clicking on the thumbnails and browsing through the photos, while the video of Burberry’s show is online at that link.