Burberry opened its Autumn/Winter RTW show at Milan’s fashion week to the awakening sound of cathedral church bells against a darkened city-scape background— London's, of course. Is the brand heralding something new and exciting? Most likely, because Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative director since 2009, has been revamping the brand significantly during his tenure— modernizing the classic heritage, and ushering it into the technological age. So clients should expect something different to distinguish his luxury menswear line. For Fall/Winter 2013, he envisioned a playful twist on the classic coats and trenches ubiquitous to Burberry with quirky renditions of wild animal prints.
Fans who remember the electric metallics prominent in Bailey's summer show realize he needed something just as dynamic for Milan. The sober, muted palettes made their appearance, of course, in the shape of cashmere topcoats and cream-colored trenches. These were layered over classic slim-fitting sweaters and pants in cool neutral tones. Just as traditional were the fresh white shirts, dark blazers, and the staple of the Burberry brand – the recognizable oversized plaid. Hints of what was to come appeared in the form of animal-print panels on Burberry’s Boston Bag and mod winklepicker shoes.
Sure enough, leopard and cheetah print began to materialize on the lapels of greatcoats and chesterfields— and even on the sunglasses worn by the models. Then, once the audience was warmed up, Bailey released models down the runway in full-on cheetah print and psychedelic zebra-striped coats.
These were toned down with the collection’s sharp monochromatic ensembles and military-inspired bomber jackets. The military theme has been quite popular for Burberry in the past. The vintage look of the wartime-issued jacket and pants is boosted into the present as models sported shoes and over-the-shoulder leather satchels distinguished by leopard print detailing.
A favorite look was the translucent latex longcoats, which were refreshingly unique and simple. In various hues like royal purple, white, and olive, they allowed a subtle glimpse of the shirts worn underneath. For the runway, Bailey layered them over vibrant heart-printed button-ups. My pick was the milky-caramel one as it modernizes the traditional trench, becoming chameleon-like and taking on the design of the shirt. It works extremely well with extravagant prints— barely concealing, but highlighting them at the same time.
The line is classic with hints of the unpredictable. By offering a range of outerwear in latex, animal-print calfskin, and wool blends, clients will not have to stray from the Burberry brand, and will definitely be looking forward to Bailey’s next vision. We are glad he took the leap into the wild with the garments because just embellishing satchels or accessories would not warrant the title of "trendsetting designer." Clients can peruse the made-to-order line through various digital platforms including Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.
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