Burberry's mix of tradition and innovation gives LFW a lift

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

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 2009 (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.

Click here for more images from the Burberry Prorsum Autumn/Winter 2012 show

Still, the label is quintessentially British at heart as could be seen in yesterday's glamorous 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, which was this time cut in a gabardine and tweed mix, remain the core of its business to this day.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative officer, 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, which remains the principal source of inspiration for the Prorsum collection and the brand as a whole, 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 and, of course, accessories finished with shiny brass duck and fox heads to go with it, almost half a year before they reach the store.

Christopher Kane is among London's most feted designers and 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, shown earlier in the day, 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-Twentieth haute couture that continues to sweep the ready-to-wear circuit with a homespun feel, this time he darkened it to the point where it was almost gothic, and certainly mournful, in flavour. Black roses appeared on narrow knee-length dresses that 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 innovative. 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 mor than overt femininity in the stereotypical sense of the word. It was all the more refreshing for that.

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 onto 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.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
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: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

    Day In a Page

    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
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick