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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Burberry Prorsum Urban Rural Cool

Godfrey Deeny
February 20th, 2012 @ 2:38 PM - London

In sports, they speak of an athlete being in the zone, when the game is at its peak. At Burberry's fall 2012 collection, the house's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey was more in the zone than any other designer so far in the current international season.

Riffing so self-confidently on the visual DNA he himself has invented for Burberry - hyper plaids, feminine militarism, posh tough chic and witty, off-kilter hardware - Bailey re-fashioned the silhouette, sensibility and sophistication of the United Kingdom's most famous brand in a thoroughly assured show, staged Monday, Feb. 20, in London.

Take the signature combination for fall; a padded bolero over a sleek skirt with wavy peplum, which Bailey used in a dozen great looks. Whether a khaki swirling skirt over a Nelson era multi-button jacket or a mega puffed up puffa' with hyper twisted to-the-knee skirt with gold trim, they all looked great.

With fake-rain pouring onto the transparent roof of the show-space, built inside Hyde Park and opposite The Royal Albert Hall, the models seemed perfectly dressed for a ragged autumnal day. Or a sunny fall walk in the park, so practical yet optimistic were these clothes.

Multi-grommet calfskin gloves, clutches finished with striped gold wolf-head or snail body buckles and, most laudably, padded skiing belts with bow-ties fasteners, all look fresh and new, yet always very, very Burberry.

"Everyone has been talking about merging digital and physical worlds. And I thought why not do it with clothes too," Bailey told FWD, amid a throng of two score of camera crews, and twice as many local and global celebrities.

"Merging culture and city," the designer continued. "Taking familiar elements; putting them together in a different way and, hopefully, making them interesting again. I love the familiarity of the field jackets, the quilted looks, the trenches, but translating them into a more urban style."

However, Bailey's finest touch was the sense of classy classlessness in this show. It's instructive that in today's Britain - a country well known for stratifying people by class and accent - it should have at its greatest fashion label, a designer who effortlessly mixes references from up and down the social scale. So, dockworker boots and Merseyside caps mix with ladylike padded jacquard coats and colonel's trench coat.

In a moment, when the hit movie, "The Iron lady," reminds us how a petit bourgeois woman rose to run Britain for a decade, the snobless luxury of Burberry seems very appealing and admirable. Thanks to Bailey, no brand is more "now" in the U.K. today than Burberry.

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