LONDON--The Burberry show, which is the jewel in the crown of London fashion week, was held at a huge tent in Kensington Gardens, a fitting place to showcase such a quintessentially British brand. It's also the slickest show around, and draws an always-impressive group of A-listers.
Brand ambassadors Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Eddie Redmayne (sans Karlie--where is that girl??) were there, as was Mario Testino, who sat next to Kate Bosworth (we were very jealous of her fall 2012 owl sweater.) At the last second, Will.I.Am snuck in and sat next to Alexa Chung. Samantha Cameron and Clémence Poésy rounded out the mix. It's also one of the few shows that can get big models, and Arizona Muse, Jourdan Dunn, and Cara Delevingne--another face of the brand--all walked.
For a brand that's known for its outerwear, Christopher Bailey has to really rub his hands in glee before he designs for fall. Not surprisingly, this collection was all about the coats, and they came in every possible iteration: trenches, bombers, field jackets, and riding jackets. Bailey's inspiration was "town and field," with traditional British fabrication, and he used wools, tweeds, gabardine, herringbone, corduroy and the like to get the message across. But Burberry is a luxury brand, and touches like fur collars were de rigeur. Design elements like pouchy, slouchy pockets made them look new.
Was there also a bit of Downton Abbey thrown in? We watched several episodes on the way in to London, and the full, gathered peplum hems on the jackets recalled that time period, as did the big striped bags.
Clothes were generally neutral, with accents of green and yellow in the accessories. The recurring pattern is a large horizontal stripe, in burgundy, blue, olive, and tan. Our most coveted pieces besides the coats? The humble owl sweaters, which managed to look chic and sweet at the same time.
The menswear was impeccable, and all the male models were carrying natty umbrellas. Which they ended up needing, because Burberry made it rain. Well, sort of. After the last model left the runway, the music stopped and we heard a clap of thunder and crack of lightning. "Rain" started pouring over the top of the roof of the tent (on the outside only), then clear confetti came raining down on the crowd, as the models walked their finale lap carrying striped umbrellas.
It was a fantastic piece of mini theater, and of course made everyone want to wrap up in a cozy Burberry coat.