It goes without saying that Burberry doesn't do things by halves but for September 2016 the fashion house raised the bar even higher. Not only did it make its combined womenswear and menswear collections available worldwide to shoppers immediately after they hit the runway, but it unveiled a shiny new show venue, Makers House, to boot. A sprawling workshop of sorts located in the heart of Soho, it was set up to showcase the craftsmanship behind key pieces of the collection - from an embroidered hem to a tassel finish on a velvet cape. It was the ultimate sensory experience as guests viewed the handiwork in progress amid lush plants and Roman statues, while listening to a live orchestra. In other words, the perfect prelude to the show.
The line-up was inspired by Virginia Woolf's novel, Orlando, a reissued copy of which was placed in each guest's seat. Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Bailey, revealed: "Orlando has always been a treasury of ideas for me: a kind of dressing-up box to visit and revisit... It is eccentric and it is beautiful. It is a love letter to the past and to English history, yet it is also fiercely modern. And, above all, it feels as though it speaks to us today with utter clarity in its merging and overlapping of male and female, of past and present, of the playful and the serious."
All apt descriptions of Bailey's stellar line-up, which was rich in prints, colours and textures. In a warm palette of teal, gold, army green chocolate and black, came his and her velvet blazers, waterfall trenches, ruffled blouses and louche pyjamas in luxurious printed silk. Military accents peppered the collection with brigadier jackets complete with brass buttons and ruffs adorning collars and cuffs. For evening, lace dresses came in sheer tiers or belted and worn under dressing gown-style maxi coats. Indeed, no one does outerwear as exceptionally as Burberry and here there was myriad to choose from: a reprisal of the aviator jacket that was an instant hit a few Autumn/Winter seasons ago, trench coats with puffed leopard sleeves, oversized parkas and a very special gold tasselled cape.
It was a fashion 'moment' and certainly the highlight of London Fashion Week this season and, judging by the A-list crowd's applause - including Cara Delevingne, Samantha Cameron, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Palermo and Felicity Jones - during the final parade, a veritable sartorial triumph.
The Burberry Runway February 2016 collection, presented on Monday 22nd February 2016
With change in the air in the fashion industry, who better to switch up the standard than pioneering fashion powerhouse Burberry, its future set in see now, buy now? While the transition is underway, for the February 2016 collection, at least, outerwear ruled; a distinctly British feel in heritage-inspired military jackets was juxtaposed with a more subversive edge played out in parkas, while the signature trench came textured in python and patent. Sparkly sequin florals adorned mini dresses and caped silk blouses, meanwhile, with greens and browns the key shades that lent a '70s vibe to proceedings.
Adding to the innately British backdrop, of course, was live music from Jake Bugg, not to mention the faces on front row - Burberry alumni Naomi Campbell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Suki Waterhouse.