There’s an air of David Hockney, but Burberry fails to make a bigger splash

 

Fashion Editor

For true fashion fans – which includes the best (but not all) of the fashion press – the international collections are an arena into which new ideas are born. It’s about change, renewal and growth. That makes it sound a little like Carrousel in Logan’s Run.

And with a relentless, even daunting focus on youth behind the scenes and inside the clothes on the catwalk, fashion feels more than vaguely akin to a society where all over 30 are vaporized in the name of “renewal”.

For big fashion brands, however, most of that is null and void. It’s still about growth: fiscal growth. More shops. More clothes – many, many more clothes.

But for them, fashion isn’t about new ideas, and it certainly isn’t about youth. The older the brand the better – that spells heritage, a hook to reel in more consumers.

This week, Burberry Prorsum is one of the oldest, 157 years and counting. But spring/summer 2014 marked its great British menswear debut after over a decade showing in Milan.

Not everyone grows old gracefully. There’s a desperate pitch to the clamour Burberry seem intent on making around their clothing. Not content with simply letting the garments speak for themselves, the brand instead feels compelled to create as much brouhaha around the event as humanly possible.

Prior to their show, Burberry pumped out video and images on to various online outlets. Most of it, frankly, was pointless: glancing through blurry snapshots you learnt there would be polka dots and faux-naif daisy prints in primary brights, showcased alongside endless vistas of London streets with attractively diffused lighting.

The actual show played out in much the same fashion, in an impressive tent in Kensington Gardens, foggy sunlight through polythene the backdrop to a simple, even simplistic show of nondescript colour-blocked separates.

There was the air of David Hockney’s Seventies set, Burberry’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey utilising plenty of the artist’s California poolside blue. “Air” is perhaps generous. If you squint your eyes, the colours of the shirts, sweaters and sou’westers seemed the same.

Bailey called them “easy”. They were, both to wear and to design. You just expected this collection to make a bigger splash. As with previous seasons, the Burberry Prorsum collection was available to order online immediately after the show.

This time, something new: adding your name to a metal plate inside. They call it “personalisation”. But it doesn’t feel especially personal.

There’s something about the cold calculation of merchandise so readily available that rings hollow, a vending machine approach that’s turning fashion into pure product. One couldn’t help but think of some of the week’s younger talents, the mechanics of their shows clunky but the blood, sweat and tears palpable.

Look at the show by Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff, an exceptional experience dedicated to delicate boys much like the designers themselves. It throbbed with heart, and it was precisely that emotional connection made their presentation such a high point.  Burberry, by contrast, has no problem going through the motions. It’s the feeling that’s got it stumped.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk