- Alison Catchpole
BEYOND THE GLASS WALL
London. Wet and wonderful, and ever stylish.
Home to Burberry under the skilled and purposeful guidance of Christopher Bailey. In case you don’t know, forty something Yorkshireman Bailey, son of a joiner and an M&S window dresser, was nurtured in the early stages of his career by Donna Karan and then Gucci under Tom Ford. He joined Burberry in 2001, invited by then CEO Rose Marie Bravo, and has been there ever since, even suggesting her successor Angela Ahrendts in 2006, with Bailey becoming Head of Design in 2009. When Ahrendts announced she and her lust-worthy wardrobe of trench coats would be leaving the glass walled office next door to Bailey’s to a new job at Apple, there was panic on the stock market but Bailey, who took the new title of joint Chief Creative Officer and CEO, seems to be weathering the storm with characteristic charm and elegance.
The AW14 catwalk show, the first under the new management, was clearly a cause for celebration with all the polish and buzz so integral to Burberry’s London Fashion Week presence. Staged in a custom built edifice on a small field at the edge of Kensington Gardens, Burberry used its usual eclectic mix of models from Jourdan Dunn to catwalk darling Cara Delevingne and her Model of the Year successor Edie Campbell to parade the new collection in front of Anna Wintour, Tinie Tempah and Harry Styles to namedrop just a few. Inspired by the Sussex-based Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell (sister of novelist Virginia Woolf) and Duncan Grant, the collection had a softness and fluidity, which sat well with the hand painted details on the garments and accessories. As we audience members were treated to a live set from colourful crooner Paloma Faith, male and female models walked purposefully but comfortably along the catwalk and back. The finale, featuring the models in monogrammed blankets seemed to welcome us away from the flooding so unpleasantly integral to recent weeks, to a cosy future.
It assured the appreciative audience that the brand is warm, wonderful and of course, ever stylish.