MILAN, February 27, 2009
By Christopher Bailey's
"It should have a point of view. Burberry's is outerwear, and that's what I've worked on here, from the casual shell of a trench to luxe furs." So his Fall collection was rooted in the familiar. He took a well-worn British theme—the arty intellectuals of the Bloomsbury group of the twenties and thirties—and saw it through in a continuation of the muted palette of browns, grays, and neutrals that have become a Burberry fixture in the past few seasons.
The wide, sloppy, unfitted English-eccentric silhouette of the coats and drop-waisted dresses favored by Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell is a soft alternative to the sharp, body-conscious look stalking so many other runway.
The comfortable, shrug-on outer pieces were, as Bailey pledged, the main attraction. A butter-soft sand-colored suede trench (Bailey's knowing nod to the suede trend rising everywhere) opened the show, followed later by a standout oversize shearling jacket and various furs, shaved narrow in the sleeve and body and left to fluff out belows.
For anyone seeking an easy way to dress for Fall (and there will be many who balk at facing up to the eighties again), the loose, waist-defying dresses over thick ribbed tights and chunky high walking boots might seem a good way to get out of the door without fuss. A harder sell, whichever way you look at them, are the calf-length Donegal tweed kilts and any dress or coat that came with a raised waist and full skirt in one of the heavier fabrics.
Cute models might just about get away with it on a runway, but the rump-magnifying potential of those would surely daunt anyone but the most stolid of traditional Burberry English country ladies.