Burberry’s colossal global presence is never felt more powerfully than during London Fashion Week.
The enormous tent, erected in Hyde Park, bang opposite the Royal Albert Hall. The monolithic Burberry Regent Street flagship with its 22 staircases, 24,000 products, 260 staff clutching their iPads containing all your purchasing history and RFID mirrors that morph into screens showing personalised content as soon as you approach them.
Burberry is at the forefront of every aspect of state-of-the-art luxury consumerism. And it’s all fuelled by one man’s vision, Christopher Bailey – it’s his show that provides the juice to power the entire empire.
Transmitted live to its global audience, even the backdrop of the Burberry Prorsum show becomes a site for strategic marketing, ramming home the importance of its new blockbuster flagship, lit up against the silhouettes of Big Ben, Nelson’s Column and St Paul's.
Out stepped a cape - the first of many takes on the brand’s most vital piece – the trench coat. But what was this beneath it? A pink pleated body? Abbreviated to the point of …well, pants. In fact, hot pants – lots of them - followed soon after in gold, emerald green, orange, purple…
This was only the beginning of Bailey’s new departure: printed foil metallics, corseted dresses, even plastic – in the form of a mini orange cape or a doctor’s bag (the one and only shape, this season) made an entrance.
But it was the colour - vivid, luminous, peacock shades (and yes, at one point, even a peacock feathered jacket) that sent the clearest message of change.
This felt like fast fashion – as opposed to Bailey’s gentle, evolution of keep-me-forever pieces. But make no mistake, this is strategy – these clothes will sing of the page of a magazine and no doubt be snapped off the rails by fashion’s most fervent followers.