Burberry Delivers Modern Victorian Excess in February 2017 Show

Burberry Delivers Modern Victorian Excess in February 2017 Show

The iconic fashion house continues to innovate without deviating from their core.

The iconic fashion house continues to innovate without deviating from their core.

Photography: Schohaja

Text: Jake Viswanath

Considering Burberry’s status as one of the most historic fashion houses that still exists in our time, it’s remarkable how the brand manages to remain ahead of the curve in the industry without straying from the qualities that make Burberry such a household name. Under the helm of creative director Christopher Bailey, they adopted the see-now-buy-now method last year before many brands of their caliber, merged separate mens and women's shows into one presentation, and continually push the boundaries of what “timeless” means for the timeless brand. This season is no different.

It’s becoming a tradition for Bailey to model every season’s runway show on a British artistic achievement—last season, he took cues from Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending novel Orlando. This time around, the show at Maker’s House was inspired by the work of sculptor Henry Moore, known for his large-scale take on geometric sculptures. "Henry Moore’s art has always loomed large in my imagination,” Bailey said in a statement. As per another recent tradition, Maker’s House will be open for a week so the public can experience Moore’s avant-garde artwork and their impact on the collection in full force.

The sculptures that Bailey loves so dearly were seamlessly spread within the audience, forming the path which the models would walk down. They were also the only source of light within the stark warehouse-like space of Maker’s House, setting the tone of the show before the models hit the stage. The haunting soundtrack provided by British singer Anna Calvi emphasized the ethereal elements and gothic grandeur of the collection.

The collection took elements of Victorian-era clothing and some of Burberry’s signature pieces — the trench coat, the cashmere sweater — and constructed them into various shapes and molds. Sleeves and necklines were elongated to the point of no return, while coats were artfully deconstructed into giant loose ruffles or uneven hemlines. Some looks took the proper practice of tucking in one’s dress shirt to a new level with cinched high-waisted trousers, while others were entirely unconcerned with even a modicum of tailoring.

Victorian motifs such as lace made a comeback, taking over striped dress shirts with intricate appliqués and forming the basis for extravagant sheer dresses, and denim made a rare appearance on the Burberry stage in the form of work suits. But the head-turner of the show came with the finale, as every model did the final walk donned with limited-edition couture capes made of intricate beading, lace patterns, and an ungodly amount of white feathers. The regal capes were fittingly "inspired by the scale and form of Moore’s elemental sculptures,” ending the show with a notion of grandeur and traditional excess that Burberry pulls off so well.

The brand’s continued experimentation with pieces and materials they’ve done so well with in the past could draw criticism from some quarters for a lack of evolution. But it’s their continued devotion to the essence of Burberry, accompanied with their innovation in other lanes, which will keep the house going for decades to come. Check out photos from the show below.

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