If Thomas Burberry could have seen Christopher Bailey’s parade of deshabillé nymphets today, he would been enthralled by the way his sturdy trench had been magicked into a sheer organdy wrap or a canvas for an impressionistic daub. Burberry was, after all, a man of prodigious, adventurous appetite. Ever since the spirit of Christine Keeler presided over the Burberry catwalk last fall, Bailey has given his collections an increasingly sensual gloss that the old man would have undoubtedly appreciated. And so must’ve Bradley Cooper as his squeeze Suki Waterhouse walked by in a sheer gold lace dress.
It’s tempting to see Bailey’s flex as a reaction to his promotion to CEO. Like the rules just changed in his playpen. Alternately, he’s just getting older and more relaxed about everything, more prepared to push the boat out a little. Besides, today’s dedicatees, “the Bloomsbury Girls,” did summon up visions of the sort of free-lovin’ boho popsies who might have circled the Bloomsbury Group itself, that set of writers, artists, and thinkers who fancied themselves as arbiters of aestheticism in early-twentieth-century Britain. Burberry has recently partnered with the trust that works to preserve Charleston, the country estate that functioned as the Bloomsbury Group’s heart and soul. It’s clearly a commitment that is dear to Bailey’s heart. He’s an ardent collector of Bloomsbury artists like Duncan Grant.
But today, it was the turn of the popsies to impress themselves on the Burberry audience. In their flimsy, colorfully hand-painted finery, they were quintessential artists’ muses, women who would arise from their pose, casually drape themselves in a cashmere blanket or throw on a mohair coat, and go for a wander in the garden. When something more decorous was called for, Bailey offered languidly proper dresses in crepe. Waists were high, bodices were shirred, lengths were long.
Photo: Kim Weston Arnold/Indigitalimages.com