With the memorial to Prince Albert, the Queen Victoria’s consort, looming over its tent, Burberry Rrorsum had picked something of the perfect location for the unveiling of their autumn / fall 2011 collection. Nestled in-between two rows of mature maples, their leaves long lost to the cold of winter, and on the green grass of Kensington Gardens, stood this temporary structure, a modern design set amongst this majestic slice of Britishness. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect for the fashion house. Nor too could the fact that the day remained overcast and the fog scarcely lifted have been more appropriate; the unveiling of winter collections on sunny days never has the same feeling, and London, typically, didn’t let Burberry down.
Inside the theme of heritage sitting along side the modern seemed effortlessly repeated. The walls, painted in a soft cream, sported a modernised patten of the fashion house’s heritage Nova Check, while the cream carpet, soft under the foot of my heavy brogues, had the feel of the shearling collars that Burberry had so successfully made a trend mere seasons ago.
Would their women’s autumn 2011 collection play to the strengths of recent collections, reinterpreting the elements which made them am obvious success but obviously resting on their laurels? As we had seen of their
That’s not to say that they would be abandoning what had gone before, however. Burberry is Britain’s greatest fashion export, and it’s always keen to draw on its history. The fashion forwards’ tastes have moved on, however, and Bailey is a master of spotting when that occurs. Hence, as our love for military waned, Bailey moved Burberry on to the likes of motorcycle chic with an infusion of punk for the current season. But these trends, still in their infancy, feel like blips on the radar. And so it is that for Burberry Prorsum’s autumn / winter 2011 /2012 collection for women Bailey turned to the fashion house’s archives and came away with something else decidedly British, decidedly Burberry:
Well, that’s not entirely true. Rest assured that deep within the hallowed archives of Burberry’s basement they do not have Jean Shrimpton under lock and key. What Bailey has given us instead is a collection that lives up to the image that thoughts of Shrimpton, an icon of the of 60s by whom much of modern women’s fashion was promoted, evokes. And then he’s tweaked it for a more modern age.
Thus it is that Burberry’s next offering for women is one rooted in historicity, but always with that hint of something typically Burberry. It’s a collection with three acts that sees pieces that lean towards the 60s and the 70s, along with a more timeless take on pure winter whites, all presented as one whole.
From the two era-rooted acts you’ll find all those pieces for your winter wardrobe that are twee in their nature. The 60s act opened to visuals of wind and snow while Dusty Springfield reminded us ‘You don’t own me’, a song that personifies what Jean Shrimpton achieved to a tee. The cuts mightn’t have been quite as revolutionary as Shrimpton but they were no less statement orientated with winter brights and cropped cuts sitting alongside double-volume layered outerwear and dropped, sculptural sleeves. The latter qualities, their shapes inspired by the work of English sculptor Henry Moore, certainly stand out but this act’s true gem lies in the leather fasteners that oft served in place of standard toggles – these have an unmistakable quality, and you know that Bailey hit exactly the right note when he worked them into various pieces of outerwear.
The sixties explored, Roger Daltrey’s 1973 hymn to the fact that ‘It’s a Hard Life’ beckoned in something decidedly different. Where Burberry Prorsum’s 60s act had offered up volume this second act played to all the trim sophistication we love about the current 1970s fashion revival. Less exuberant in its colour choices, this update on the 1970s played to dark winter hues of greens and browns set against sumptuous leather cuffs and fur all worn largely trim save for a trim take on the revival of flares. This all came together best in an English heritage tweed two-piece; 1970s infused it might have been, but with it’s pre-war qualities cut to a figure hugging shape it had the air of revivalism – model Arizona Muse may have done it wonders, but Diana Rigg (circa The Avengers) would have looked sublime in it.
You can see all the Burberry Prorsum autumn (fall) / winter 2011 catwalk photos by clicking on the thumbnails below and browsing through the gallery. We’ll update this article shortly with our take on the collection. Stay tuned.
Video of the snow falling at Burberry (21 Feb 2011)