Luxury Fashion Houses: Burberry is amongst the oldest luxury fashion houses. The brand was established in Great Britain in 1856 by 21-year old Thomas Burberry, a draper's apprentice.
Since the early days, Burberry has been synonymous with luxury fashion, especially outerwear, although in recent years the name has expanded to include fragrances and underclothes as well as their popular accessories including handbags, scarves and accessories.
By 1870, Burberry was a fashion house phenomenon, known for its dedication to innovation. With the 1880 introduction of gabardine fabric, which is breathable, weatherproof and tearproof fabric, Burberry was at the start of becoming a legend that has lasted for over 150 years.
In 1895, Burberry introduced the predecessor to the trench coat, which would appear in 1914, a fashion statement that has lasted to this day.
Burberry has had a series of iconic symbols that are representative of the elite luxury brand, beginning in 1901 with The Equestrian Knight emblem accompanied by the Latin word "Prosum," meaning forwards. The original Burberry Check first appeared as a trench coat lining in 1920. Since then, the Burberry Check has had a few minor alterations, but remains a strong presence in the luxury fashion house's lines.
The classic Burberry look is composed of clean lines, classic style, and traditional colors (offshoots of the red, black, beige, and white Burberry check), making the clothes striking in their pure simplicity.
During the 1970's, Burberry suffered a minor loss in status when its checkered prints began appearing on the backs of the British football fans, leading it to be commonly associated with chavs, hooligans and members of football firms by the 1990s. It then became a national joke when actress Danniella Westbrook was photographed with her young daughter wearing matching Burberry outfits. The police ran a campaign against societal misdeeds under the slogan "Operation Burberry." And the fashion house admitted that "Burberry is now synonymous with Chavs and thugs."
When Burberry brought in New Yorker, Rose Marie Bravo, as Chief Executive Officer in 1997, she began to turn things around, bringing in Kate Moss as the spokesmodel.
Burberry's beginnings by a young entrepreneur have parlayed into being popular fashions for young people all over the world as well as long-time devotees of the brand, including Britain's royal family.
To recognize Burberry's excellence and service to the Royal family, it has been awarded two Royal Warrants, one by Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and another by His Royal Highness, Price Philip, making Burberry luxurious enough for royalty.
Creative director Christopher Bailey went from the Royal College of Art to working for top designers including Donna Karan and Tom Ford for Gucci. After working for Gucci for a mere six years, he was hired to resurrect Burberry, where he has earned Burberry a record $167 million in profits.
Burberry maintains its British roots through many of its collections, utilizing British actors and models in its campaigns. The feel of the Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection was inspired by British Northern artist LS Lowry and shot in Kensington Gardens, one of the Royal Parks of London.
Burberry is sold selectively through Burberry stores and online through luxury websites. Each Burberry item is carefully crafted. While maintaining a very modern grip on current trends and styles, each piece reflects the well-established fashion house with traditional flair. The Burberry Check pointed toe flat is a perfect example. The iconic Check draws on the past, while the pointed toe style of the flat shoe is an updated look.
This Burberry coat is another modernized take on Burberry through the ages. It's cropped sleeves and bottom are hipper versions of the 1914 trench coat and 50s style wide sleeved attire. The quilted detailing gives a feminine edge to the military-inspired epaulettes of the shoulders, making it a great look with jeans or a Burberry skirt, like the one pictured above.
Through the ages, Burberry remains as fashionable and luxurious as ever.
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