Spring/Summer 2016 Burberry Prorsum

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It was the usual fanfare at the Burberry Prorsum show in Hyde Park: there were stressed ushers in day-glo jackets directing traffic with military precision, headset-wearing security at every check point, and suited staff guiding show goers to velvet upholstered seats. Even, the same familiar front row: Burberry girls, Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, and Jourdan Dunn, in addition to Sienna Miller, Paloma Faith, and Benedict Cumberbatch. But this season was quite unlike any other, because to see Burberry’s spring/summer 2016 show, you didn’t actually need an invitation. You just needed Snapchat. The collection, pretty much in its entirety, was unveiled on the app.

Trust Burberry to come up with a first. And another: Sephora streamed the first ever live runway beauty tutorial on YouTube. No one can say Burberry is behind on the digital up.

Nor an emerging artist. Previous entertainment has included Jake Bugg, James Bay and Tom Odell, but today saw a volte-face on that front with 54-year old singer-songwriter Alison Moyet performing live, accompanied by a 32-piece orchestra. She belted out familiar hits, All Cried Out, Only You, and Whispering Your Name and given the way Christopher Bailey boyishly ran out to hug her at the end, the chief creative and chief executive officer is clearly a fan.

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But first things first: that nylon floppy backpack. Remember the wait-list frenzy that ensued over those personalised blanket ponchos a couple of seasons ago? Watch it happen again over these gabardine-constructed nylon backpacks. Embroidered with model’s initials with tan leather buckles they debuted in versions of black and khaki, and served to neatly sum up the younger, carefree spirit of this collection, titled FUNCTIONREGALIA, which was one of Bailey’s most on-the-pulse outings in recent seasons.

This is what modern urbanites will want to wear come spring: one of those slippery oyster silk slip dresses, suspended by spaghetti straps that skimmed the floor, with a languid trench coat nonchalantly thrown over. That look will take her almost anywhere, anytime – and even into autumn with the addition of a sweater. There was big emphasis on coats – yes – even for summer – after all, it’s always winter somewhere in the world; here you’ll find lace trenches spliced with sporty mesh, the perfect black pea coat, duffle coat, officer jacket with frogging and regimental buttons, and leather biker, finished with gold cording trim.

Don’t forget: selected outerwear and bags from this collection can be purchased and personalised until October 5. Best make that call now then.

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Gigi Hadid For Topshop

Things keep getting better for 20-year-old Gigi Hadid. The California model has been announced as the face of Topshop’s Fall campaign, launching in stores, online, and in print this month. Shot by Tyrone Lebon and styled by Topshop creative director Kate Phelan, the photographs feature Hadid looking casually cool in the latest wares by the high-street retailer.

Hadid’s appointment comes after two seasons of ads fronted by Cara Delevingne. For the retailer, choosing the American model is more than just a social media play—don’t forget Hadid has 4.8 million Instagram followers—but also a way to expand its international reach. Topshop has stores in the works in the Middle East, Germany, Canada, Panama, and New Zealand, in addition to new third-party retailers in Southeast Asia, the Netherlands, and across Europe for 2016. By choosing a non-British model of mixed ethnicity, the brand sheds a little bit of its British heritage but positions itself as a retailer for cool women everywhere of every race.

“Working with Gigi Hadid on this campaign continues to strengthen our international vision for the Topshop brand,” said Sir Philip Green. “We are continually developing our footprint across all markets with ambitious plans both in the U.K. and internationally, and I feel like Gigi is an ideal ambassador to underpin these efforts.”

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Spring/Summer 2015 Topshop Unique

  Topshop unveiled it’s new show space, an urban warehouse complete with a Beauty Pit Stop, inviting show goers to ‘park up and perk up’ for complimentary mini make overs, all under a grimy corrugated roof on WC1’s Grays Inn Road – a long way away from the British seaside, the scene that Topshop Unique took it’s cue from for spring.

If that’s starting to sound deckchair-stripe corny, it wasn’t. Cara Delevingne opened the show (just moments after her mother, Pandora took her seat; she whooped and punched the air as her daughter glided by). This was a young, spirited collection that pulsated with bold sporty brights. Retro cycling jerseys in red, bordeaux and sky blue popped against stark white A-line skirts, or frilly mini hot pants in navy blue. Abbreviated hooded anoraks were tossed over it all, further communicating the sportif vibe.

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 What joy to hear Fun Boy Three’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” on the soundtrack of a show that, season after season, manages to pin down a particular English knack for the now. Yes, the song is a golden oldie, but how right it sounded in the context of the golden girls of modelling—Cara and Jourdan, the leaders of the pack—parading up and down in a youth cult collection whose latest manifestation was, according to the show notes, “the faded glamour of the British seaside.” Sheer ghastliness if you’ve ever been on one of the beaches, but a hell of a night out if you got to one of the discos. And that, thankfully, was what this new Unique collection was celebrating: irrepressible, primary-colored, boy-nip energy.

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No beach scene is complete without a dancehall on the pier. Come night, a Topshop girl will dazzle in knife pleated silver lame skirts and ruffled, slip-of-nothing dresses decorated in a smattering of Swarovski crystals.

A change in direction was noted here this afternoon, in past seasons the high street giant seemed intent on spearheading a more grown up approach, this collection felt considerably younger.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Burberry Prorsum

 

CHRISTOPHER BAILEY loves to riff on a topper. In previous seasons he’s reimagined the biker, the aviation jacket, the gritty parka, the trench – of course – and this season, he turned his hand to the indigo denim jacket, that forever young wardrobe staple that’s imbued with good times and optimism.

Serenaded with a live performance by James Bay, Malaika Firth opened the show (fellow Burberry girls, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne sat front row, alongside Mario Testino) in a fitted wasp-waisted jean jacket with white sheepskin erupting out from under its little peplum.

Varying versions were in never-ending supply. Some were lined in sprouting white ostrich feathers, others were fiercely cropped, another was clad in dusty pink mink, or rendered in grass green suede with a glossy plastic collar and breast pockets. You’ll be spoilt for choice. It wasn’t only those jackets that conveyed a young-at-heart appeal, every luxury house seemingly has a hit sneaker right now and Christopher Bailey debuted Burberry’s all-white style, the “field” sneaker with a bright striped foamy sole.

Under those jackets were tulle dresses as light as candy floss that were whipped around bodies in sensual swathes of bandaged twists or pleats.

The British countryside comes alive in spring and there were nods to that feeling, which arrive with the first signs of summer, rooted in this collection. From those fluffy soft lambswool accents, to that particular shade of grass green, to the oversized butterfly prints and enlarged and abstracted bumble bee motifs and slogans that screamed “insects,” “flower,” and “sun” plastered over trench coats and printed dresses, and yes, all further enhanced by Bay’s The Clocks Go Forward, and the sunlight streaming through the Burberry tent in Hyde Park – as though right on cue.

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