It was like welcoming an old friend; their looks have changed, but the warm familiarity is still there. This, however, was no living person that we were welcoming, rather it was Burberry Prorsum’s interpretation of autumn / fall 2012 as it took to one of London fashion week‘s runways.
So well established is the fashion house’s branding that Burberry can always feel familiar. We all know what to expect of it. We all know that the catwalk will offer up many twists on outerwear, particularly the trench coat, and that the collection’s true creative spark is generally found in other pieces where the outerwears’ motifs and details are fully explored.
Familiarity needn’t breed contempt, and Burberry Prorsum’s autumn 2012 offering is proof of that.
Look over its use of colours and you’ll note that those which told spring 2012’s story make their return. They’re not exactly the same, and the patterns layered upon them have certainly changed, but the familiarity is there. What you loved last time you witnessed a Burberry Prorsum runway has been retained. So much so that while watching the catwalk I couldn’t help but feel that Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer, has not just built upon the company’s historic archives for autumn / winter 2012 but also his own recent successes. That mightn’t sit as such a unique standpoint for Burberry were it not for the fact that most designers are wont to completely distance themselves from past seasons once it comes time to design a new one – consider how vastly different Gucci’s defining fall 2009 collection was to its spring 2010 one and my point needs no further illustration. Like some of the most successful designers outside of the fashion industry, Apple’s Jonathan Ive comes to mind, Bailey here feels like he’s slowly evolving a good idea as opposed to relentlessly chasing a new one.
For autumn / fall 2012 that good idea sees an exploration of what I’ve begun to call the new silhouette. That’s an unhelpful term and one I’m likely to abandon, but I’m referring to the impact of loose tailoring upon the silhouette of women’s clothing. Burberry isn’t adhering to the idea of relaxed or loose-fitting clothes for late 2012, instead the silhouette is taken to the nth degree – frankly, it’s a look that’s voluminous. From the opening looks Burberry Prorsum autumn 2012 tells a story of slim cuts contrasting with relaxed ones; slim shoulders contrast against peplum waists made of pleats and bellow pockets, shirts sit so loosely that were it not for the accuracy of the shoulder cuts you’d think they were mis-sized altogether, cropped coats feature oversized sleeves whose cuffs seem just an inch or so too short. It’s an eye-catching look, but given just how conscious most of us are of presenting the slimmest look possible it’s going to be interesting to see how people regard this part of Burberry’s take on this new silhouette as the season nears. Where people will really take to it is when the volume is a superfluous detail as opposed to something figure defining; a sculpted skirt piped with a gold zip and the draped fronts to a number of outerwear pieces come to mind.
That’s the story of Burberry Prorsum’s autumn / fall 2012 collection: evolution and volume. But there are two more things that I’d be amiss not to mention. The first, take in the collection’s use of ornamental animal-detail clutches; you’re going to notice these – I certainly did when I walked past another show guest carrying one (already!) to the show and nearly broke my neck to get a look at it. The second point, Christopher Bailey’s exploration of the 1920s fashion revival is bang on the money. There are flapper elements galore, but Bailey is amongst the designers to nail the fact that the 1920s revival is this time about interpreting elements as opposed to creating costumes.
You can see all of the Burberry Prorsum autumn (fall) / winter 2012 runway collection, called Town and Field, by clicking on a thumbnail on the left. From there you can browse through each of the pictures from the fashion show.
Photography by Imaxtree