Monday Muse: The Bloomsbury Girls Inspire Burberry Prorsum
Posted on: February 6, 2016 /
London Fashion Week has a few big tickets, along as a reputation for being an incubator for fresh, young labels in the fashion game. Like New York, there’s a distinct energy and a feel that surrounds the event, but this year, there was a more relaxed feel to the shows, especially after the crowded show schedule and inclement weather that marked this year’s New York collections. Amidst the emerging labels, quirky cool-girl labels and hip, of-the-moment brands, Burberry stands as a stalwart for British fashion. The latest collection saw Christopher Bailey moving the label away from a hyper-slick, digitally devoted brand. Instead, for the Fall 2014 collection, he brought focus to the brand’s heritage of craftsmanship by way of the British bohemia that were the Bloomsbury Girls.
During the early 20th Century, London’s art scene was graced by the presence of the Bloomsbury Girls, who were a group of artists, writers, designers and more. The prominent female members included writer Virginia Woolf and artist and interior designer Vanessa Bell. The two women were joined by Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, but Bailey decided to focus on the relaxed, artsy quirk that marked Woolf and Bell’s work. The Bloomsbury Group was known for having an over-the-top headquarters in Sussex, where the walls were covered in paint (they were constantly being painted and repainted by artists in residence) as well as the furniture, draperies and more. No surface was left untouched by the artistic expression of the group’s residents, so there was plenty to draw from — whether real or imagined — for Bailey and his team of designers.
That sense of individual expression and British eccentricity was what inspired the latest collection at Burberry, and in fact, the brand felt that the group’s work was so influential that this season also marked a partnership with Burberry and the Charleston Trust, which helps protect the heritage of the Bloomsbury Group’s main meeting place, a stone farmhouse at Charleston in East Sussex that dates back to the 16th Century so that future generations of artists and writers could congregate and perhaps get a few new ideas from the history of the space.
Burberry Prorsum Fall 2014
To channel the Bloomsbury Girls, Bailey loosened up Burberry’s signature items.
Sure, there were still plenty of trenches and cozy shearlings, but instead of pulling focus to tailoring and construction — past collections have included sheer coats that definitely won’t keep you warm but most definitely showcase the craftsmanship and attention to detail that the Burberry workshops are known for — shapes were looser, shoulders less structured and just about every piece was covered in hand-painted details. The trenches and even leather bags were covered in freeform florals and abstract geometric patterns. Dresses were flowing and finished with asymmetric handkerchief hems. Prints and patterns drew from the haphazard “works” that decorated the Bloomsbury house. Bailey stated that each bag was painted in-studio and that every one could be reproduced when the bags made their way to stores in the Fall.
Burberry Prorsum Fall 2014
The show closed with the models emerging in monogrammed parka coats, including Burberry favorites such as Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn as well as Brit socialite and Bradley Cooper’s current girlfriend Suki Waterhouse, a stark contrast to the hyper-tailored candy-colored trenches from Spring and the Christine Keeler collection’s sweetly sexy overtones. Burberry’s loosened up and taking on a whole new side of Britain’s heritage to draw from, giving fans even more reason to shop and bringing new light to aspects of Brit culture that are usually reserved for academics and historians.
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