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.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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

    Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

    £21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

    Science teachers needed in Norwich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

    Semi Senior Accountant - Music

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

    English teachers required in Lowestoft

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits