Walk on the wild side: Christopher Bailey’s collection for Burberry Prorsum was awash with bright prints / EPA


There is frequently a back-to-school feeling to London’s spring/summer shows, staged as they invariably are at the start of September, with flocks of uniformed children clogging the city’s streets.

For many of the fashion press, it’s the point to hit the new fashion year running, pencils sharpened, uniforms crisp. Oddly, it was also a theme echoed by the shows on the fourth day of London’s spring/summer 2015 season.

The head boys are Christophers Bailey and Kane. The latter is relied on to creatively justify the fuss around London Fashion Week, the former financially. Kane’s collection was devoted to coming of age, a timely assertion given the majority stake invested in him by the luxury conglomerate Kering last year. Evidently, Kane wanted to assert what both he and his label represents – he used the muggy, fusty colours of his own secondary school uniform (burgundy and an acidic ice-lilac). Plus, there was a self-consciously avant-garde quality to dresses with tulle exploding from vents, like 99 cones of satin – or an art-class project, dutifully overworked.

A model walks the runway at the Burberry Prorsum show

The best sections were the openers and closers, where Kane wiggled ropes of embroidery into intricate lace dresses that had a serpentine revulsion. That jolt is something Kane’s label frequently riffs on: but where was it in neat cardigan suits, or those satin frocks, well-behaved with fluttering lappets of tulle? They were pretty, but the tough thing is that we expect more. This collection was a solid B-minus; from an A* student, however, that felt like a fail.


Christopher Bailey is a good all-rounder. We never expect him to jolt the fashion landscape, but when he bounds out at the end of his Burberry Prorsum shows, grinning amiably, we forgive almost all of his sins. Sins like the soundtracks, which invariably sound like a cross between hyper-amped department-store lift muzak and a CD picked up at a service station.

For spring, Burberry dedicated its collection to “The Birds and the Bees”. Which didn’t mean sexiness, or sensuality, but oversized hand-drawn prints featuring said wildlife, on garments and accessories like the bag Burberry has dubbed “The Bee”. (B for Burberry, see what they did there?) Indeed, sexiness was in short supply, jean jackets thrown over ruched dresses twinned with trainers, like Lily Allen circa 2006. It looked very “LDN”, but not especially now. Bailey is top of the class with menswear – a few looks from the last collection, clashing colours suckerpunch-strong, were shown among the womenswear. Alas, rather showing his strengths, they only highlighted the lessons still to be learnt.