Burberry is, arguably, always the centre of London Fashion Week. It has the best front row and oftentimes, the coolest venue. For a long time, the Burberry show was also a launching pad for the best new British models (think Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, Jourdan Dunn). Even since hitting hard times sales-wise, Burberry has managed to maintain an impressive level of hype around their show each season.
The show itself, however, seems to have a new 'catch' each time - first it was non-seasonal, and then it was see-now-buy-now, streaming on Snapchat, and there is always the underlying promise of a more commercially salient, but also buzzworthy, new "look."
This season saw the British heritage label make the move to their new venue at Old Sessions House on Saturday night for a large collection with a total of 79 exits. Fall 2017 (yes, not Spring) was intended to be the epitome of their new branding overhaul, and it certainly did represent a departure from their typical 'heritage' look, with more pastels and colour in general and perhaps even some subtle streetwear influences.
Models like Adwoa Aboah, Grace Bol, Kaia Gerber, and Lineisy Montero stepped out in cloudy multi-coloured macs, oversized plaid coats, grandma cardigans, and scarves that trailed to the floor. In this manner, Burberry did a superb job of keeping up with their symbolic British iconography by repurposing classic Britannia motifs for a millennial audience.
Christopher Bailey's means of doing so, however, were maybe what felt a little bit less fresh. The oversized trench coats had a very Vêtements cut, while the various macs hit a little too close to Raf Simons' versions at Calvin Klein, and of course, the single ornate earring was a spitting image of Céline's Spring 2016 collection. This unoriginality, conscious or not, didn't go unnoticed, with commenters on social media raising many comparisons to other popular contemporary brands. It's true that watching the show felt a little bit more like looking at editorial where a stylist has composed a fusion of all of the trendiest cuts, colours, and accessories of the moment, versus seeing something totally new for the first time.
It has to be said though, that as fashion becomes increasingly contingent on sales, it will also become more homogeneous - designers have to create what consumers like, and if that is Vêtements, Calvin Klein, and Céline (which it is), it is not unfair to expect that these brands will be the tastemakers of what is 'cool,' even when it comes to labels that are not their own. Ultimately, Burberry's collection will sell better for it, because it was still a better looking collection than their other recent lines. And I don't know about you, but I'm still having heart palpitations from that turquoise clear rain mac...