The Burberry Chief Creative Officer perceived our collective desire to wear what we want, when we want it, early in the game. He pioneered instant e-tail gratification by offering clients the ability to order pieces as soon as they hit the runway. When Burberry’s runway-to-retail concept debuted in September 2010, it saw VIP shoppers receiving their S/S ’11 python aviator jackets about seven weeks after the show.
Considered alongside the rising importance of Asian and Middle Eastern countries as luxury markets, Bailey isn’t sure he sees the wisdom in hewing to the time-tested seasonal model.
‘I’m not sure what seasons mean to everybody,’ he told The Daily Beast during a trip to California. ‘What’s the temperature here, 80? I’ve just left London, where there’s frost on the ground. So I’m saying that I’m showing a winter collection, and it’s boiling hot in half the world. You have to have a point of view in the show, you have to have a message—but there also needs to be a more trans-seasonal aspect to it as well.’
Occasionally, working in fashion media can feel like an exercise in time travel. Compiling Christmas gift guides in July and covering book and films months before they’re released can make the actual event feel like a postscript by the time it arrives.
So it is with the shows. In February, when all we crave is a scrap of warmth, designers show us how they want us to dress in the following winter. Then in September, as the first chill winds begin to blow, we’re presented with visions of what our warmer selves will wear come spring.
Bailey isn’t the first designer to question the system—Donna Karan has been a vocal advocate for shifting shows and delivery dates so they’re more in line with the way people dress. But while Karan’s solution is restricting access, Bailey’s is opening it up and inviting everyone into fashion’s big tent. And that attitude is definitely in fashion, no matter the season.