Brands

Long read: Crafting culture and commerce at Burberry



Models from Burberry September 2016 show at Makers House

When is the trench coat not having a moment? That’s a good question. The answer is ‘never’, of course. It’s a classic that’s always relevant yet this season, if you pardon the fashion hyperbole, it’s Having A Moment. No, I’m not talking about the (albeit lush) pulled-to-the-side trenches of Prada’s be-feathered show, but the original Burberrys that dominated the show on Monday night. The highlight of my London Fashion Week, the trench was out in full force; cropped, super-sized, deconstructed and overstated. It seemed to be a metaphor for Burberry itself – omnipresent, of its time, and yet completely forward thinking.

It’s been a big week for Burberry. The company has had a few public ups and downs during the last twelve months and this felt like a new beginning of sorts. Of course, central to that was the new selling structure. Dubbed ‘see now, buy now’, Burberry has been instrumental in setting a new sales standard, putting the whole collection in flagship stores to buy immediately post runway show. And as part of that, the show itself became a shoppable catalogue rather than just a press showcase.

THE SHOW So how to make the most of this? In keeping with the newness, Burberry had an entirely new venue and set-up. No longer in a custom built tent next to the Prince Albert memorial, it had Makers House, a beautiful, poetic repurposing of the former Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. The collection was inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel, Orlando (an eccentric time-travelling tale following the transformation of a young page boy at the court of Elizabeth I to a successful female writer) and the British garden decorator and interior designer, Nancy Lancaster. The Makers House courtyard was dotted with sculpted busts of famous British cultural icons and one wall was covered with a trompe l’oeil façade of Ditchley House, aka Nancy Lancaster’s Oxfordshire residence.

Burberry Makers House
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen

For an hour before the show, we meandered through Makers House, past a genteel string quartet, where we took in gigantic mood boards of inspiration and watched numerous craft makers who had been hand selected by The New Craftsmen demonstrate skills from calligraphy, to tassel weaving, to patchwork. It was all an immersive buildup to the theatre that would follow. Up a flight of floral carpeted stairs, the seating was set out in a warren of inter-connecting rooms. The guest list of previous seasons had shrunk from 1700 to a (comparatively) more intimate 700. Chintz-upholstered benches were laid out with a special copy of Orlando for each guest.

5 Burberry Makers house mood board wall
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers house mood board wall
Burberry Makers house mood board wall
Burberry Makers House calligraphy tent
Burberry Makers House calligraphy tent
Burberry Makers House mood board wall.
Burberry September 2016 show Orlando

THE COLLECTION I was so glad to find that Burberry had gone in a much cooler direction compared to recent seasons. No one said this at the time of course but it was felt that Burberry had catered too much to the commercial international customer at the expense of creativity. This time the casting was more androgynous, the hair prettily unkempt as only an 18 year old’s can be, make-up barely there, but beautiful in an Elizabeth Peyton painting kind of way. (Slightly Dries perhaps?)

Elliot Smedley’s styling was lovingly layered, with pyjamas a-plenty, military capes, tapestry-look sweaters and trench coats galore, all accompanied by frilly poet’s blouses and Elizabethan-style ruff collars. It was louche, gender-fluid and bohemian, but resolutely not boho. A new bag was debuted, the Bridle Bag, an equestrian-inspired, saddle bag with studded strap. And shoe-wise, I loved the tasseled army boots and chunky snakeskin heels. Some people suggested an Allesandro-Michele-for-Gucci influence but that didn’t strike me until later. This was much less costume-y than Gucci, the styling had been elevated a few notches but it was all utterly wearable.

Burberry September 2016
Burberry September 2016
Burberry September 2016
Burberry September 2016 jacquard sweater
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection Dr Marten boots with tassels
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 Bridle bag
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry September 2016 collection

THE MUSIC An important note on the music (if you’ve not heard it, go watch the show now!). Music, especially live music, has always been a key component of Christopher Bailey’s Burberry. The show began to ethereal classical strains, which gradually built to a huge operatic crescendo, so throat-clutchingly emotional that by the end the place felt like it would erupt in crashing applause. (It didn’t.) Only when the show ended and we trooped downstairs to a reprise did I realise we had witnessed a live 21-piece orchestra (plus pianist and five vocalists), conducted by the music’s composer Ilan Eshkeri.

This little piece of magic is a crucial part of the experiential jigsaw. Like the clothes themselves, of course you immediately wanted to buy a souvenir of the evening. And you can; the specially composed score is available now to buy from iTunes or Apple Music. Clearly, no detail was overlooked in the making of this extravaganza.

Burberry September 2016 orchestra
Burberry September 2016 orchestra

POST SHOW Where in the past, showgoers would have rushed straight to the next show, the evening time slot meant we were invited to linger and enjoy the after-soiree. While we sipped champagne, listened to another live performance of ‘Reliquary’ and mingled with the models (who came out in their outfits for closer inspection), across town, there was more excitement afoot. It was time to shop the show.

The litmus test: would people buy? Yes they would and they did. According to my in-store witnesses, the flagship stores had worked hard to cultivate a special, intimate atmosphere, with invited VIPs gifted goody bags containing their own copy of ‘Orlando’ and plied with bubbles. A dramatic parting of curtains revealed racks laden with clothes as soon as the show – viewed on a live stream – had ended. Capes were swished, trench coats donned, blouses scooped up, and seemingly given the thumbs up, with customers spending thousands on their credit cards within minutes. The key here was customer service. Build something special, make it feel like a personal, emotional experience and boy, will they come.

THE MAKERS HOUSE That wasn’t the end of course. The final stroke of genius, how to engage that last layer of enthusiasts (those who may not have the funds for a £3000 braided military cape but nevertheless would love to be part of Burberry world) was the masterstroke. For a week after the show (there’s still time to go), Makers House became an experiential exhibition space, showcasing a range of Burberry-relevant crafts and performances to view at leisure.

Here you can see not just walls of inspiration materials for the collection – sketches, fabrics swatches, photos – but diagrams of the making of Makers House itself. Upstairs the ‘September’ collection is on display in its entirety, and on a couple of the days there were Burberry archivists on hand to talk about the company archive. As I said, no detail has been overlooked. It’s the perfect meeting of minds, music, design, craft, creativity, commerce and culture. There’s even a wonderful craft shop to buy pieces made by those demonstrating their skills and a delightful ‘Thomas’s’ cafe.

While ‘see now, buy now’ suggests speeded-up fashion, for Burberry it would appear to be the opposite. It’s about cultivating brand loyalty and an appreciation of the time and care that goes into its products. From this vantage point, I’m starting to see that it’s a rather canny strategy.

Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House archive piece
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen - mood board of building and set design
Burberry Makers House cafe
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House cafe
Burberry September 2016 collection
Burberry Makers House cafe
Burberry Makers House
Burberry Makers House
Burberry Makers House
Burberry September Collection Makers House
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House cafe
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen calligraphy
Burberry Makers House silversmith shop
Burberry Makers House silversmith
Burberry September Collection Makers House
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House shop
Burberry Makers House The New Craftsmen

Burberry Makers House is at 1 Manette Street, W1 until 27th September 2016.

 

NOW CLICK BELOW TO SHOP THE POST…

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla; Burberry; GPS Radar; Anabel Navarro for Dazed
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

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Buy it now: Aerin Rose Night Table Cream & Overnight Mask



aerin-rose-night-table-cream-overnight-mask

One for rose-o-philes (I bet there really is a word for that). This has just arrived on counter from Aerin, a nourishing, radiance-boosting rose cream that doubles as an overnight mask. Aerin Rose Night Table Cream & Overnight Mask (£60) sounds great for autumn-winter skin TLC and I love the comforting, old fashioned name. Time to make room on your vanity trays!

NOW CLICK BELOW TO SHOP THE POST…

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Aerin Lauder
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here



Molly Goddard SS17 – Something for the weekend



Molly Goddard SS17

When the show notes say the collection is about people who live for the weekend, you know the music is gonna be good. For SS17 Molly Goddard took us on a nostalgia trip to 90s New York rave culture, as documented by Nick Waplington in his recent photo book.

Goddard’s signature smocking and gathering was omnipresent in voluminous dresses, this time updated in gingham checks and neons and accompanied by rainbow stripe knits and photo print tees. It’s that very real, practical sense of dressing for dancing; sexy but layered with a bit of sportswear thrown in.

The music? Suitably loud, dancey and trancey. After filing down the catwalk, the models piled onto a strobe-lit podium with arms aloft for the finale (although they had clearly never been to a rave, their delicate swaying was far too ethereal!). Tuuuune!

Molly Goddard SS17
Molly Goddard SS17
nick waplington
Molly Goddard SS17

nick waplington New York clubs

Molly Goddard SS17
nick waplington
Molly Goddard Spring Summer 2017

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla; Fashion GPS Radar; Nick Waplington
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

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LFW SS17: Mother of Pearl’s Scorsese girls



Mother Of Pearl ss17

Amy Powney at Mother of Pearl always gives good reference. They frequently tend to music and youth culture, but not the obvious generic tropes of ‘punk’ or ‘grunge’ (#zzzzzz).

For example, for Mother of Pearl SS17, her main reference was New York Stories, the 1989 trilogy of short films by Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen. (more…)