So, admiral blue is the new black. And plaid should come in hunter green and yellow daisy, just like the enormous tent in Highbury, where Burberry staged its latest show on a cloudy Monday.
The second collection by Daniel Lee, and a powerful statement staged before London’s new creative nomenklatura – led by Skepta, Gabrielle Union, Damon Albarn, Jourdan Dunn, Wayne McGregor, Barry Keoghan, Kylie Minogue, and Shygirl.
An audience gathered underneath a giant Lycra tent encompassing 1,500 square meters, sat comfortably on green park benches, as the cast marched around the undulating catwalk.
An enormous sense of buzz about the event, as 1,000 guests mingled around – every fourth one of them in blue plaid scarves and tops. Admiral blue shirts for a regiment of PR staff, the umbrellas ready in case of rain. Even the paper roses sent with the invitations were dyed the same blue.
Lee opened in mono-color with military style jackets and razor cut trenches in mercerized cotton and leather. Yet, his big statement was in prints, notably a surrealist blue-and-white print of hand-tools, chains and mini flashlights – varying the effect by blowing up the pattern.
Used in asymmetrical silk cocktails and blouses for gals, and party shirts for guys. And then reimagined as a perforated version in pillbox red linen pants and tops. Also impressing was a new chain link B monogram, and a strawberry print, though again in admiral blue.
Lee played with military references – like big button hussar jackets in shaggy wool and, again, you guessed it, in shaggy admiral blue. He cut the house’s signature trench into a stunning deconstructed coat dress for gals, and a classic beige version for guys.
Moreover, Daniel dreamed up a bunch of great footwear – something where Burberry has been weak historically. From slingback with thick heels and wide front strap made in snakeskin or cherry leather for girls, to a great new bulky sandal open at the back and finished with a metal medallion for men. While a new one-strap shoulder bag, testified to Lee’s famed skills with accessories.
Post-show, Lee seemed exhausted in the backstage.
“I am not sure I am in any state to tell you anything useful,” he sighed.
An emailed release did at least reveal: “An exploration of lightness, sensuality, beauty and elegance. Brand codes evolve, moving across clothing, bags, shoes, accessories and jewelry… Embracing the clichés of British fruits and English meadows.”
Though, partially street chic, where the girls wore black lipstick and waxy hair. For his finale, Lee went into overdrive with fabric flower fantasy looks on mesh gowns and cocktails, the most striking of which in red was worn by Edie Campbell. A very British cast for a British brand, including Karen Elson and Liberty Ross. As was the techy soundtrack by Dean Blunt.
Before a beefcake guy with six pack abs closed the showed in admiral blue pants and a Prorsum leaping knight metal logo belt.
A show lacking a little runway firework and red-carpet glory perhaps, this was nonetheless a highly convincing collection. Plausible, punchy and polished, one could sense from the way they practically licked their lips that Burberry’s merchandising team were very happy.
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