LFW show report: Burberry Prorsum

23 September 2009

There can't be many fashion events that have been hyped like Burberry Prorsum's return to London Fashion Week. Drawing international editors and A-list stars to the capital, it felt more like a red-carpet premiere than a fashion show as autograph hunters lined up outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the front row guests: Victoria Beckham, Mary-Kate Olsen, Gywneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, Frieda Pinto and, er, Peter Mandelson. The photographers' flashbulbs turned night to day in the sculpture courtyard of the Chelsea School of Art where the enormous Burberry tent was the only place to be. It was easy to forget that, ultimately, this was all about the clothes.

And they certainly didn't disappoint. The collection was an homage to that Burberry icon, the trench coat. The Summer 2010 version is uber flirty and feminine: short, tightly belted and so decorated as to make jewellery redundant. Don't you love one piece dressing?

There were several covered in knotted drapes and 3D ruching; one in buttery suede with gathered shoulders and sleeves; a frosted pink one; a primrose yellow one; a baby blue one; a metallic version, and even a brilliant biker one with twisted folds bigging up the shoulders. The focus on draping extended to chiffon dresses and skirts, in the delicious Burberry summer colours: more nudes and frosted peppermint, lavender and primrose, all pulled in at the waist with a battered looking tan belt, that gave them just enough of an edge to escape any suggestion of whimsy.

Even the accessories got twisted: platform boots and sandals had braided straps. And another Burberry icon, the famous check, got freshened up too and used in clutch bags. 'I really wanted it to be a pure expression of the Burberry brand but just twisted and a bit sexier', Burberry Creative Director Christopher Bailey told us backstage afterwards. And he did just that. There were no shocking departures or radical statements. But in front of an audience that included every international fashion industry big hitter, the luxurious craftsmanship (how about silver sequins turning into individual flowers on a thigh-skimming coat?) and slick production, gave us Brits lots to be proud of in our home grown talent. There couldn't have been a better end to London Fashion Week.

- Hattie Brett


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