LONDON--Christopher Bailey is an optimist. "I don't think it's been a negative time in fashion!" he exclaimed to a reporter after yesterday's lovely Burberry Prorsum show. By the time I got my chance to ask him a few questions, I already had a clear idea of his vision for Fall 2011: Early 1960s Burberry adverts starring Jean Shrimpton, and the weather. Those two references translated to a modern, cocoon-like silhouette and a finale that included clear--black patent leather piped--rain capes and "snow" falling from the rafters. (The first row's heads were covered in the confetti, including Anna Wintour's.)
What is it with Brits and the weather? "I think because it's so changeable. I called my mum yesterday and she said that it was snowing in Yorkshire, which is only three hours away," he told me enthusiastically, as if it was the first question he'd been asked all day. "Here, it was kind of bright sunshine and somewhere else it's rainy. It changes so much that I think it's something that we've become obsessed about."
Like the Americans he worked for (Donna Karan and Tom Ford), Bailey is the ultimate professional, and a master of the brand he has brought into the 21st century with ease. We loved the red wool sculptural cape, the folded panel wool coat with leather buttons (also in red), and the mink fur officer coat, which are all available to purchase via Burberry.com right now. Yep, that's right--and this isn't the first time Burberry's done "runway to reality." Indeed, the British house began selling clothes straight off the runway long before any of us ever uttered the words Moda Operandi.
"I love it, it's something that I felt...when we started streaming live, you can't think anymore of just the industry," he said. "You can't invite an audience that has nothing to do with the industry--they just love fashion--and then expect them to work with our industry timing. I felt it was important to say 'Listen guys, if you want it now, we'll get it to you in six to seven weeks.' You have to think differently when you're working with digital technology."
Well said, Mr. Bailey. Now go on, ladies and gents, and buy some Burberry.
**Photos by Imaxtree.