For Once, Burberry Fails to Impress Critics

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Photo: Imaxtree

Lots of fashion people probably hear "Internet" in the office and then put their fingers in their ears and start yelling gibberish in hopes that damn thing on the screen will go away. Burberry is the opposite of that kind of fashion establishment, having embraced all kinds of Internet technology over the years. They've broadcast their show live in 3-D for overseas audiences; they have a website devoted to the Art of the Trench, which may be gimmicky but is kind of a neat marketing idea; they once had Elle's Joe Zee take over their Twitter feed so that a top fashion tweeter could bring the world live coverage of their show; and yesterday's spring 2011 show in London was live-streamed online, with many of clothes made available for purchase immediately afterward (they will be delivered in a couple months). Cathy Horyn blames this devotion to technology for some of what went wrong in the collection.


I also kept thinking that the collection lacked feeling — unless you count the pain of the models who cast off their raunchy heels on the runway. The last model toppled over a few yards from the backstage area and had to scramble back up. When I think of all the great collections that Mr. Bailey has done for Burberry, they’ve all been characterized by a sense of emotion that he was willing to put out there. It wasn’t all crass e-commerce.

Suzy Menkes liked the clothes, but thought that they looked cheap since, well, the models couldn't walk in their outfits, which made them look drunk.


The impact of ultratight motorbike pants with the badly balanced footwear was to turn high quality, beautifully made clothes, often in snake skin or leather, into just the image that Burberry has fought to escape: outfits for Britain’s shop-until-you-drop WAGS, the tabloid nickname for the wives and girlfriends of soccer stars. Since the escapades of the WAGS include falling off their shoes after a few too many glasses of Cristal Champagne, some of the show images are going to look like gossip magazine covers.

But not, perhaps, where it matters. For Burberry is so wired up and connected to the Internet that it will be techno child’s play to edit out the tumbles and make everything look fabulous.

Some of the models also took off their shoes, which is another classic sloppy-drunk-girl move. The Telegraph's Hilary Alexander wasn't sold on the collection's overwrought biker theme:


Canvas, mini-trenches were tightly cinched with coloured patent belts, in turquoise and lime; and snakeskin biker jackets were encrusted with enough metal studs to turn a Hell's Angel into a fashion victim.

The biker look is fun but it feels passé in this new fashion era of fifties-housewife chic that's morphing into safe seventies disco chic. What did you think of the collection?

See a complete runway slideshow of Burberry's spring 2011 collection.

Burberry: Killer Heels [On the Runway/NYT]
Burberry: Riding for a Fall [NYT]
London Fashion Week: Burberry Prorsum spring/summer 2011 [Telegraph UK]
Related: Finale Model Falls at Burberry!
Yaeger: Report From London Fashion Week