For all the lip service paid to it of late, heritage can be a heavy load to bear. Vaunted traditions can quickly send their standard bearers into staleness. At Burberry, though, Christopher Bailey continues his neat balancing act of being both conservative and bold. The brand will always stand behind the trench (the company invented it, after all), the car coat, and the parka. But how to keep them fresh, season in and season out?
Here's where the boldness comes into play. Bailey keeps the bones of the Burberry coat and blasts away the rest, bringing in studs one season, colors the next. For Resort, he gave outerwear an artisanal spin. "This collection started with our iconic heritage as the foundation," he said. "We really wanted to emphasize this feeling of artisanal and decorative pieces that had been touched by hand, celebrating craftsmanship but always with this playful element." The result was a series that looked homespun—if, that is, you could spin your own two-tone, bonded leather trenches at home. Stitchwork became a major design element, whether tonal or in contrast colors of jewel-toned raffia. Wooden beads decorated shoulders and plackets for a crafters' corner kind of fun.
The dusty rose palette was brightened up with shots of chrome yellow, malachite, azure, and emerald. And a new, vaguely protoplasmic print of geometric shapes floating in a sea of scrambled color appeared on everything from silk blouses to mid-length skirts and dresses to full-length coats. They looked like a trip. Not what one would expect from good old Burberry, perhaps. Which means, in effect, Bailey has done it again.
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