‘A 156 year-old global brand with a distinctly British attitude’, is how Burberry describes itself on Twitter. It might as well also say, ‘Burberry: luxury fashion’s frontrunner in social media’.
Before the show started, Burberry was feeding the world tweets about its #BeautyBooth, featuring the world’s most striking women from Jourdan Dunn to Edie Campbell, who were being snapped inside a passport-style photo booth backstage. Not just a cute way to hype the brand in the run up to the show (which was also being streamed live across the globe), but an astute marketing concept to spread the word that Burberry, having bought its beauty licence back from Inter Parfum, is in full-flow launch-mode with, among other things, a new lip gloss called ‘Trench Kisses’.
Cue the title of Burberry’s autumn / winter 2013 show: also titled ‘Trench Kisses’. And chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey’s muse this season? Christine Keeler, the 1960s call girl whose scandalous affair with Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, almost brought down the government.
The spirit of Keeler was seen in the Burberry mac, refabricated with deep hems of translucent rubber through which peeped cheeky knickers and the new Burberry love heart print that covered everything from trench coats to shell tops and column skirts. The silhouette, too, had 1960s sauce-pot written all over it with neat pencil skirts worn with polite blouses or glossy cashmere sweaters. The shoes – a ‘kitten wedge’ – were certainly inspired by the era. As were the ‘Crush’ bags – with drawstring tops and sometimes covered in fringed leather and golden eyelets – casually carried in the crook of the arm.
By the time the screens at the end of the runway were drawn back in the usual giant Hyde-Park located marquee - revealing British musician Tom Odell at the piano surrounded by backing singers - we were entering Burberry’s hyper-luxury territory. A lovely rust-red dress with golden epaulettes and a gold band belt opened the section that saw a camel coat covered in what looked like luxury golden badges. Jewellery pieces were an integral part of the plot, such as one large flat silver love heart that sat on Karlie Kloss’s collar bone, from which her sinuous black silk column dress appeared to be suspended.
This was Christopher Bailey on top form – a gutsy collection of future classics, as polished and luxurious as you might expect from the Burberry power house. From Burberry's creative director, sealed with a kiss.