A commercial collection to solidify Burberry’s move to ‘see-now; buy-now’, an innovation in the way fashion is shown and more importantly sold, allowing the customer to purchase straight off the runway. The idea is to cut out the six month waiting time, so that the collection does not seem old by the time it hits stores. This is what Burberry does. It is a commercial innovator, previously making pre-orders immediately available. Now however, their entire showing schedule has been rethought around this selling strategy.
Selling certainly was a major influence on the collection. Composed primarily of accessible pieces that emphasised Burberry’s strong British heritage, helping it especially over seas where the commodification of Britishness is a great sell. It was not, however, an especially intellectual collection, which was certainly not for a lack of trying. It was of course tied up to some higher ideas , this time Virginia Woolf’s Orlando served as inspiration. Not in fact a poor choice. Indeed, its two themes of voyage through time and disregard of gender norms are especially relevant in the current fashion landscape. Both ideas took form in the clothes, to varying degrees. The former concept of time manifested itself through ruffed, Elizabethan shirts; green, Georgian hunting tapestries on statement sweatshirts and instantly desirable Victorian military jackets. The aspect of gender was, understandably, not pushed as far as it could have been. It ended up being presented through oversized outerwear on women and floral-brocade trousers on men. Not the most inspirational interpretation of a theme which could be looked at in a fascinating, although less commercial, way.
However, pushing fashion to its extremes is not what Christopher Bailey’s Burberry is about and is not what has come to be expected form the brand. From its primarily sellable aspect it ticked all the boxes. A clear emphasis on craftsmanship and heritage made the clothing and accessories instantly evident and desirable. The design was strong across all of the brand’s categories, suggesting the want to not just rely on bags and accessories as the commercial back bone of the company.
This was definitely a strong catwalk proposition to spring board Burberry into the unknown depths of their new business model. What it needed and delivered, in no short supply, was good, maybe easy, well crafted product to ignite a shopper’s interest. After all, it’s no use revolutionising fashion commerce if there is nothing to sell.