Brolly good show as Burberry reigns at London's parade

Classic label takes a step into the future with online ordering straight from the catwalk

If London is still predominantly famous for its fledgling names, the exception that proves the rule is Burberry, a globally recognised international brand with the money and power behind it to match.

Burberry Prorsum has been showcased in the British capital since 2008 (prior to that the show was in Milan alongside that city's big guns) and it gives London Fashion Week an ultra-glossy and unusually corporate international lift.

Still, the label is quintessentially British at heart as could be seen in yesterday's procession of outerwear all of which appeared, as if by magic, beneath a shower of (man-made) rain. Blanket coats, bombers, waxed jackets and of course the label's famous trench coat, this time cut in a gabardine and tweed mix, remain the core of its business to this day.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry's creative director, understands this sensibility well. More typically English references came in the form of flared riding skirts, overblown dress shirts borrowed from men, animal print T-shirts, and for the country-house soiree, fringed dresses and quilted velvet in the colour of the forthcoming autumn season: ox-blood.

As well as respecting Burberry's British heritage, the powers that be at the label consistently have an eye on the future where digital innovation is concerned. The show was live-streamed on its website and looks can be ordered online for seven days meaning any customers may find themselves in possession of their autumn 2012 wardrobe almost half a year before they reach stores.

Christopher Kane is a man who is known for taking the potentially stuffy cliches of the bourgeois wardrobe and twisting them slightly – or indeed quite a lot. His collection was inspired, he said, by art photographer Joseph Szabo's portraits of American teenagers and the ambivalence of adolescence. With that in mind, here was a woman – or in fact a girl – who strode down the runway in leather and pinstripe, velvet and moire, all in hard as nails colours – royal blue, true red, purple and predominantly black – and emphatically heavy square-toed ankle boots and Mary-Jane shoes.

If last season Kane invested the ubiquitous reference to mid-20th haute couture with a homespun feel, this time he darkened it to the point where it was almost gothic, and certainly mournful, in flavour. Black roses on narrow knee-length dresses were more nasty than nice; the ribbons threaded through neck-and waist-lines, similarly, came not in fluttering silks but padded black leather tied into stiff bows.

The over-riding toughness in mood belied the fine quality of workmanship and loving attention to detail throughout. Fabric treatments and embellishment were both extraordinary in their complexity and innovation. This could be seen in floral jewel-encrusted embroideries and garments covered entirely in what looked like pulled threads.

Chunky knit jumpers, cigarette pants and skinny leather coats only added to the impression of ferocity more than overt femininity in the stereotypical sense of the word.

The day kicked off with a confident showing courtesy of the designer pairing, Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos. Famed for their prints, the principal reference on this occasion was Japanese "light trucks" (literally, according to the show notes, cars covered in thousands of lights), Chinese mask make-up and overblown garden flowers – specifically lilac, carnation and iris.

This came stamped or embroidered on to everything from jeans and Puffa jackets with exaggerated collars to signature, body-conscious jersey dresses that kicked at the hem. While the hyper-technical quality of the whole might not be to everyone's taste, there was no disputing the talent on display here.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there