Burberry Prorsum: Fall 2014

by Alex R. Travers

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Last June, Christopher Bailey made an interesting choice for Burberry Prorsum: He moved the men’s show from Milan to London, England’s leading city that now kicks off the men’s collections each January. Indeed, it was a savvy decision, one that’s not only helped the brand’s business, but its creative process as well. Perhaps that’s why Bailey, who’s always been able to fine-tune Burberry’s well-known timeless edge, is now stepping into the role of chief executive officer this year. That means he’ll be the first designer (who hasn’t founded a company) to take on the position of CEO.

But that extra responsibility doesn’t stress Bailey, 42, who’s always been curious about what sells. Usually, it’s his classics: trenches, for example, that the designer’s found his strength in rehashing. Today, they came in lightweight silk, double-faced cashmere, and suede sheepskin. Scarves, as well, popped up, some in lamb’s wool and cashmere, others in silk featuring screen-printed maps of London. A few models even wore large reversible blanket versions over their cropped car coats and bulky brocade jackets. As other looks—an Aran-pattern cardigan, a shearling-lined moto with graphic fringing, and a layered floral caban—paraded down the catwalk, it seemed Bailey had finally broken free from his predictable loud-soft rhythm of the past few years. Another pleasant surprise came when the designer reintroduced the vintage wallpaper patterns used in his Pre-Fall ’14 collection for women. This time he needle-punched the graphic onto a mustard and black brocade coat that had just the right amount of flavor. And to top it all off, he made the entire collection immediately available for sale online. That’s one way to show the skeptics that a designer, too, can mean serious business.

To shop the men’s Fall 2014 collection, visit us.burberry.com.