A gloomy profit warning knocked a billion dollars off the market value of Burberry last week; the house's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey must have put a lot of that back on today with a glimmering, path-breaking metallic show in Hyde Park in London.
Inspired by pre-World War I company archive images of capes and corsets, the show was a gutsy statement that thumbed the nose at the market, a savvy reminder that when it comes to meshing technology and fashion no brand competes with Burberry.
Just as we sat down on our front-row benches, editors received personal emails from Bailey, with links to a live feed, one of them a mini virtual show in Burberry's mammoth new Regent Street store, where the sales staff all come armed with iPads, the better to show clients any look at its best - on catwalk, look book or ad campaign.
"Fashion shows have become major events; thanks to the Internet we have a global life audience of millions. So we have to provide entertainment," said Bailey backstage after the show, staged Monday, Sept. 17.He certainly did that with mini capes in orange see-through plastic or silver leather, mini capes cut for a super-heroine and Eisenhower jackets made as mini balloons and shorn of sleeves.
It all felt a good deal more radical that Bailey's usually hyper edited shows, but the bravura cutting added glory to the meat and bones of this collection, which included the best coats we are going to see on any runway this season, anywhere. From rouched double sheen satin trenches to posh militarist double-breasted town-coats, where the panels, darts and sheer sleekness of the silhouette were truly great.
Plus, you could see the front-row antennas practically twitching when Bailey wowed with a trio of peacock feather cocktail dresses in forest green or Yves Klein blue that were pretty jaw-droopingly good. Panache, power, pride they had it all, moreover, they looked fantastic on the web.
Talk about a home run show, a clutch hitter moment for Bailey when the market is weak, but the creativity has never been stronger.