It was easy to predict that Christopher Bailey's final Burberry show would be an emotional peak of February's London Fashion Week. The designer is loved across the industry, and his longstanding tenure at the British heritage brand has seen global growth and many an It piece (anyone else remember those blanket scarves with great fondness?), but the swan song started quite simply with a heartfelt Instagram post just a few days prior. "My final collection here at Burberry is dedicated to and in support of—some of the best and brightest organizations supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world. There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity," said Bailey upon launching a new house check that features a rainbow woven in. The simple visual of a swatch pinned onto the invite set the tone, leading to a blazing all-out celebration of inclusivity. Keep reading to see how that came to life.
A darkened warehouse space took industry members and celebrities totally off the normal grid—way out West and on the surprising doorstep of Westfield mall. Swinging spotlights moved to the music—either dancing or perhaps swaying in a sort of faux wind machine, slicing through a cloud of smoke to bring further drama to the occasion. The Burberry check–clad crowd could only really be seen as they filtered into the building—after that point, it was a more private affair, thanks to the mood lighting. Emotive dance-era tunes filled the space, starting with "Runaway" building up to a laser-beam extravaganza set to "Don't Leave Me This Way" for the finale.
THE CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES
The generation that partied when clubbing felt new and essential, when punks, mods, ravers and new-age hippies were moving in unusually similar circles, when surf culture was building and accessible travel broadening minds… they are the crowd that would understand many of the reference points Bailey pulled together for his version of luxury streetwear. Baja hoodies were worn over ballgown skirts. Shellsuit jackets were thrown on with zero sense of irony. All the fabrics and visual codes you'd associate with the time—fleece, tie-dye, graffiti, crafty knits, nylon—were all present in one form or another, with our money being placed first onto the Burberry-emblazoned sling bags being a smash. They will be closely followed by the patchworked trench coats and heritage-check visors, if this dedicated group is anything to go by. It was all or nothing for the designer's last turn, and he definitely turned up the nostalgia dial to the point where we were practically back in time.
It was the range of rainbow options at the very end of the show that will undoubtedly secure the most Instagram coverage of all—who could resist Cara Delevingne (pictured above) swooping down the runway in a technicolour dream coat? A little rainbow mesh market bag is the more casual route in, but the aforementioned rainbow/check hybrid will certainly become a part of Bailey's legacy. More than the literal symbol of inclusivity, you couldn't help but sense the gender fluidity of the entire collection—the boys kilt-trousers will no doubt be snapped up by women, every hoodie and jacket bore no stereotypical signs of being destined for a particular sex and more often than not, all the models wore similar sneakers.
THE BURBERRY FAN CLUB
Christopher has gathered quite a loyal following over the years—Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller were all in attendance to support, along with the biggest audience of international editors any one show can house during the LFW circuit. The runway models that have been part of the brand’s family for some time were also present, with current campaign frontrunner and all-around brilliant Brit, Adwoa Aboah opening the show. The finale ended in a standing ovation when Bailey took his bow—praise indeed for a few hundred people with sore feet at the end of a busy day.
WHAT WE WILL BUY FROM THE SEE-NOW, BUY-NOW COLLECTION
Because Burberry acts on a see-now, buy-now basis, we thought it was only kind to offer you our shopping list.