Tuesday, 20 September 2016

An Outsider's View: Burberry Prorsum 2016

It's safe to say Mario Testino's face, photographed by myself outside the grungy Soho venue, encapsulates all of the world's feelings towards last night's Burberry show. The British brand launched its long-awaited runway-to-retail model in a typical Burberry extravaganza of a show. 

Set just off of Soho Square, London, in a disused warehouse - a much more London-appropriate and edgy location in comparison to the glamourous Kensington Gardens - the space was transformed into a workshop-style installation, titled Makers House. So last night, that's just where my friend Sarah and I headed to. 

But first, pizza.

My sister Jess always raves about Franco Manca and I can finally understand why. The Soho branch of this chain was the hive of bustling activity for a Monday evening - large groups of friends gathered and mingled over glasses of wine, couples romanticised in the low key lighting, while others simply devoured the delicious delicacies on offer.

We ordered two pizzas and swapped half - the Tomato, Chorizo and Mozzarella (6), and Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil and Olive (2). You can check out the rest of the menu on offer here.

Having fully gorged ourselves on a not-so-typical fashion-week dinner, we darted in and out of the rain towards Manette Street - the hub of the Burberry happenings.

Sadly, no golden ticket for us Charlies this year, but we did pop along with the hope of seeing a few fashionistas or two.

And I'm excitedly happy to report that we did.

I love heading to Fashion Week with Sarah and snapping all of the street style, ticket or no ticket. It feels almost as a little teaser of what's to come for us in the future, and we can immerse ourselves in the fashion buzz without fully getting too involved.

Moreover, I'm not sure if too many people have caught on to the fact that you can just wander around the venues and streets, as whenever we go there's never too many people or fans in sight, making it all the more a blessing to grab that Instagram-perfect snap of your favourite style crush.

A few minutes after arriving and behold the running Palermo! I rather stupidly hadn't quite worked out that I needed my flash on my Olympus Pen at that point, so the blurry images are a total shame.

Olivia Palermo looked absolutely beautiful, dressed in all Burberry. She dashed in and out of the crowds, kindly stopping for a few fan photos, before jumping into a cab.

Before we knew it the Vogue staff rolled on out, and we spotted Lucinda Chambers, Bay Garnett and Editor-in-Chief Alex Shulman, in a very monochrome affair.

...with the latter flying the Vogue patriot flag in an emblazoned manner.

We stood among the bloggers and press, all awaiting for yet another stylish star to exit the venue.

Suzy Menkes

Then, in the midst of cracking banter with the bouncers and bodyguards (read: if we're nice they may let us in), we quickly spotted Alexa Chung.

Adorned in a heavily embellished and bright long-sleeved number, complete with an Edwardian collar to match the style of the new Burberry collection (more on this later), Chung and her Taylor Swift-esque squad ran away from the flash-endorsing crowds.

Yes, we may of ran after her in a very paparazzi-style fashion, though Chung is my ultimate babe when it comes to style so of course I had to snap a few photos of her.

And we dashed back just in time to see Mario Testino, the doyen of photography, wave feverishly out the window.
Laura Jackson

The models soon followed suit, with Adwoa Aboah making quite the appearance in an incredible white, semi-sheer trench coat (complete with a Chanel logo tooth sticker, naturally).

Okay below is possibly the best photograph of the night.

Cor, what a picture!

Mario would be proud.

Indeed, if my camera had focused quicker, the flash was brighter, the car didn't move, the windows weren't blacked out, and my heavily excited self composed for a second...then I may of just about snapped a photo of American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour. My naked eye witnessed her pristine bob and bold sunglasses, but alas, my camera nor myself was prepared for the moment.

The same for Samantha Cameron.

Now time for some even worse photos!

I forgot how dark it got during the evenings in London come late summer, and we arrived much too late prior to dinner to start taking photos. So for a quick ootd for you all, we headed to Soho Square and snapped away, laughing along the way at how hideous the bright exposure from the flash was.

I am wearing: Jumper and camisole - both New Look, skirt - Topshop, shoes - New Balance, bag - Longchamp
// All of the above photos are copyright of mine, while the rest below are courtesy of Vogue // 
Now of course, you all know my obsession for Burberry, so it would be vastly inappropriate for me not to talk a little about the show and share with you my favourite looks.

Burberry always celebrates true craftsmanship. Though this year, Makers House truly paid homage to the British textiles, craft and manufacturing industries by collaborating with The New Craftsmen for an exhibition running throughout the week post-show. Located in the heart of London’s Soho, Makers House will see Britain’s finest craft makers bring to life the inspiration behind the Burberry runway collection through a daily changing programme of activity and installations within the brand’s new show venue in London. My friend Sarah and I are hopefully going to be nosying around on Thursday, so stay tuned.

Set to an exclusive live soundtrack played by a 21-piece orchestra, the show was a true spectacle, as always, making it the most-anticipated of London Fashion Week.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry's driving force, was inspired by Virginia Woolf's Orlando: A Biography, a copy of which was also left on every guest's seat. Bailey was largely inspired by the gender fluidity in the novel, which is particularly apt when remembering this is also the first time that he is presenting the complete men’s and womenswear collections in one show. The feminist classic novel describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeting the key figures of English literary history.

The collection reached out to many juxtapositions; contrasting things is a classic trick of Bailey and something he describes as "very contemporary". To name a few, there was languid pyjama dressing slipped under sharp outerwear; nineteenth-century poetic ruffled tailoring teamed with twentieth-century utilitarian wear or deconstructed, re-imagined pieces.

Yet, Edwardian touches were weaved throughout the collection - ruffles, lace, cavalry jackets, equestrian attire, collars and round silhouettes all dominated. That said, Bailey of course still paid homage to Burberry's roots of utilitarian wear by featuring an array of aviator shearling and military jackets and trench coats. This was further emphasized through the abundance of belts, buckles and oversized buttons to enhance Burberry's nod to being functional and practical.

Bailey also played with texture, print and proportion. Oversized, androgynous pieces strutted their way through the historical English countryhouse interiors, while the decadent use of brocade and paisley on velvets and silks created an opulent sophistication to the collection. Additionally, the green forest print (as seen on the dress below), alongside the design of the catwalk and the gold guipure lace dresses, were all inspired by Nancy Lancaster's gardens.

Finally, I shall leave you with the heart of it all, the true embodiment and inspiration behind to yet another incredible collection - Bailey's personal commentary on Woolf's Orlando...

“Orlando has always been a treasury of ideas for me. It is eccentric and it is beautiful. It is a love letter to the past and to English history, yet it is also fiercely modern. And, above all, it feels as though it speaks to us today with utter clarity in its merging and overlapping of male and female, of past and present, of the playful and the serious.”

It was amazing to spot so many fashion icons and be immersed in the Burberry scene, even from the outside. I adore Burberry; I always have and always will. Bailey has done an incredible job and turnaround for the business - he never fails to inspire and motivate me to create.

What did you think of the Burberry collection 2016?

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