Burberry Fall/Winter 2016 Is a Nod to David Bowie and the Swinging Sixties

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For Fall/Winter 2016, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey captures “the year old England” died with uncanny accuracy.

In The Neophiliacs by Christopher Booker, the British author recalls “a watershed year in Britain’s postwar history”. It was 1963, a year which proved to be the beginning of “Swingin’ London” as Beatle-mania crept over the land, spreading like an airborne-virus. It was also a monumental political year that ended over a decade of Tory rule, as well as the year of the Great Train Robbery. It was also when social mores were disturbed when Britain witnessed “the divorce of the century” between the Duke and Duchess of Argyle, which absolutely scandalized the public who were known for their “stiff upper lip” mentality. For these reasons, and many more, Booker nicknamed 1963 “the year old England died.”

As stuffy traditionalism was uprooted by a tide of youth-oriented culture, there was a sense in Britain of “us against them.” One of the champions of the liberated masses was David Bowie, whose embarked on a now-legendary career in music in – you guessed it – 1963. For Fall/Winter 2016, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey captures “the year old England” died with uncanny accuracy – the collection straddled lines between British posh types and groovy hippie kids. The mood was “establishment meets anti-establishment”; there were tributes to Bowie and the Swingin’ 60s, and on the other side, there were military looks in tribute to the Queen’s Guard and plenty of Royal tartan.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

The sub-cultures of Britain that began to coalesce in 1963 were found on nearly every look. There were dresses with colorfully woven or sequined “flower power” patterns that spoke to the mod-squad, as well as silver tinseled-fringe mini-dresses and glittering shifts . On the more traditionally British side of things, there were fantastic wool coats trimmed with gold buttons and piping, and checkered outerwear. Python was a material used often to great effect throughout the collection, popping up in rainbow hues on dresses, belts, brogues, outerwear, and more. Some of the best looks were the mini-dresses that were infused with a wonderful array of colorful sequined embroidery, and dense multi-colored woven textures.

The sub-cultures of Britain that began to coalesce in 1963 were found on nearly every look.

Although Burberry’s Fall/Winter 2016 presentation appeared on the runway at London, the show actually kicked off with an act of theft. Burberry, as one of the most digitally innovative brands in the game, took to Snapchat for a clever reveal of its Fall/Winter 2016 collection ahead of the show. The brand staged an elaborately orchestrated “Break-in at Burberry!”, which featured models in face masks creeping into the brand’s flagship store on Regent Street and stealing a first look at the collection. Of course, Burberry’s fans were invited to become accomplices in the daring feat. Clearly, Bailey understood the cult-y, must-have-at-any-costs appeal of this excellent collection.

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