Images via Vogue.com
In two ways, I always dread the Burberry show at London Fashion Week. First, because I know that Christopher Bailey’s beautiful ready-to-wear, and his outerwear in particular (THOSE COATS.), will threaten to drain my bank account all over again with one swift poke the the pleasure center in my brain, which apparently really likes wool. Second, because I know I’m probably going to have to write something unkind about the handbags. Both fortunately and unfortunately, Burberry Prorsum Fall 2012 did not break from that pattern.
The collection was yet another that made plenty of references to the Downton Abbey era, which is particularly appropriate for a brand that’s so utterly steeped in British heritage, both by its own marketing and by actual history. You would think, then, that we’d be in for an accessories feast of lovely whiskey-colored leather satchels and smart, ladylike handbags with lots of structure. Instead, we got big striped and quilted totes with limited personality and clutches with animal-head door-knockers on them. The few satchels in play were the highlight of the handbags, but even they seemed a little bit unwieldy in proportion to be carried. You’ll notice in the photos, though, that many of the models are carrying their bags while wearing stunning gloves made of colorful python or studded black leather. Why didn’t we see any of those ideas carried into the bags? It would have made for a much stronger collection.
But at a certain stage, the business decided to market licenses to partners all around the world. They slapped the iconic Burberry test on whatever wearable. Along with a fair amount which was not.The trick was to produce the trench the corporation’s focus again.During her first couple of years in the company, Ms. Ahrendts along with her team purchased back 23 licenses from these firms. Ahrendts also gave innovative control to some young and savvy designer, Christopher Bailey, whom she moved to call her “brand czar.” As international design director, he’d continue to keep the newest pure. No longer dog jackets or polo shirts. “I told the team, ‘Anything that the consumer sees — anywhere on earth — will go through his office. It was also significant that Burberry innovate, not by creating even more goods but by scaling back and focusing on which it had been traditionally understood for: trench coats.In reality, some of the best innovations come out of embracing limitations — in this case, being viewed as a fusty, long-living outerwear brand — and functioning inside them, he explains. “This means a decline in the scope of activities, but in addition, it means you are returning to exactly what your comfort zone is,” he states. “You can say, ‘I am being inventive,’ but creative inside a restriction, versus, ‘I will get started constructing Burberry automobiles'”