Burberry – Cool and Relevant, Again

18 Nov

Let the Print Parade Begin!

Text, Vivian Kelly

My Burberry obsession started the day I met Christopher Bailey at the MET Museum’s press preview for “AngloMania”, which focused on British fashion from 1976-2006. It was one of the strongest showings the Costume Institute’s Andrew Bolton has ever put together.  The waiflike Bailey was on-hand and I immediately sensed the presence of a star as I pushed my way into the crowded press preview.

Bailey had an irresistible combination going – he was modest, cool, media-genic yet approachable. He was also passionate about fashion and the Burberry brand. That, combined with the campaigns he’d started to conceive, the obvious admiration he had from Industry heavy weights such as Anna Wintour and Hamsich Bowles, added to my favorable impression.

Bailey himself looks “Burberry”, or at least the image I’ve come to associate with the brand since he’s been at the helm. The first few campaigns featured Kate Moss in the starring role,  followed by it model, Agyness Deyn and Harry Potter Star, Emma Watson. Regardless of the model, the concept is always the same – a grouping of young guys and girls ranging from British Public School students to bright young things out and about having a good time.  A key component of “British Cool” is that they never ever look like they’re trying to BE cool.  Trying too hard is off-limits.

Don’t think for a minute though, that Christopher Bailey has just coasted by all of these seasons on this one iconic plaid and a couple of great ad campaigns. Bailey has turned Burberry Prorsum into a brand that used to be “Porsum, or is it Prosum what? Into the highlight of London Fashion Week. Part of the Burberry mystique is the use of Prints and Patterns and mismatched prints that look eccentrically cool rather than dorky.

The last time I remember such excitement over prints was when Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared did this in their spring 2010 show and before that, the late Franco Moschino’s wild catwalk shows for his Moschino Cheap and Chic brand of the late Eighties and early Nineties.The Caten boys’ and Moschino prints are for the fashion obsessed.

By contrast, Burberry prints are more understandable and relatable, and as such, reach a much broader audience. They allow you to participate in one of the season’s biggest trends [Let’s call it “the Print Parade”], in a way that doesn’t have you look like a clownish Moschino party-goer.

I’ve never been a fan of “baby” designer brands, until I stopped in front of the Burberry Baby store window at the Westchester Mall, enthralled by a short sleeve Burberry plaid dress. On a roll, I strolled into the Burberry proper shop, where I promptly fell in love with two handbags.

That evening, I took inventory of the Burberry pieces in my closet and wondered if I could wear it head to toe. Yes, I could, but I a toned down way. How about the navy wool Burberry boyfriend jacket,  short blue Hunter boots, the plaid shirt and kilt? I haven’t worn more than one of my Burberry pieces at one time, but I will this winter and am pretty confident the Fashion Police won’t stop me.

While my Burberry collection is limited to the classics, I’m fully on board with some of Bailey’s more adventuresome designs, such as the gorgeous blue Prorsum dress Kate Bosworth wore to the Burberry Body event on October 26 at the Beverly Hills Boutique.

Prorsum is the next step in my prints meet the classics voyage and at the time of this post, am coveting the long sleeve blue graphic print dress model, Samantha Gradoville, [IMG of her on spring Runway] wore in the spring 2012 show. Maybe I’d wear it with my short blue Hunter boots, or maybe with a pair of black platforms….

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