Saturday June 23, 2012 – Palazzo Serbelloni corso Venezia, 16
Most fashion neophytes have probably heard that sandals and socks are a big no-no. But if that old adage rings true, what about metallic Birkenstocks and socks? It seems that Christopher Bailey is doing what any great designer would do; challenge the status quo by delivering a collection that makes one question their personal fashion compass.
Showcasing at Pitti Uomo alongside some prestigious menswear peers, the ‘tartan house that Bailey built’ delivered a collection that was as much about displaying the brand’s DNA of outerwear know-how as it was about displaying an off-kilter perspective on consumer vs. editorial pieces. Right from the first look, Bailey held nothing back when it came to the incorporation of metallics into traditional pieces; a lightning-blue metallic collared black-ink seersucker caban paired with a silver-metal chemise and neutral black tie combo, finished off with a pair of Wayfarer-esque ‘Splash’ sunglasses.
The exploration into metallurgy as a textile progressed further with light-empire blue and pale powder green metallic silk cabans, a fuchsia metallic silk trench coat, and short-sleeved metallic cotton shirts in purple sky and wispy green. But it wasn’t all gloss and shine, as an oregano cropped nylon bomber jacket with a forest-green ribbed-cotton trim, a mustard geometric print shirt with a button-lined indigo cross, a simple black ink nylon bomber, and a black-ink cotton twill caban rounded out the more consumer-friendly pieces.
As you got the sense that there was a dichotomy between the bold and the traditional (i.e. magazine-friendly and what buyers really want) Bailey found a way to marry the two in clever little ways. From the yellow cowslip outsole on black leather oxford shoes to the diamond-print bombers, cabans and shirts, you got the sense that the creative director was keen on establishing printwear as the nuanced midway point between bold metallics and traditional textiles.
For the collection’s denouement, Bailey sought to combine all of these lose threads and weave them into one idea; emboldening one to take classic, modern, and futuristic textiles and prints to form a cohesive idea. A perfect example of this was the linen tweed jacket number that was paired with a painterly printed oversized shirt, electric metallic blue pants with matching leather iPad case and burnt-steel Birkenstock sandals. A funnel neck bomber jacket and a pale oregano sculptural cotton canvas parka with a metallic glossy green cardigan and metallic yellow sandals offered another play on proportions and textural-tonal blocking. Towards the very end, as a series of tonal nylon satin bomber jackets in rust-brown, purple heather, and purple-oregano descended the runway, you caught glimpses of trompe l’oeil metallic shirts, trousers and cardigans that blended effortlessly into the foreground.
To accessorize the looks, Bailey took a bit of every material, from geometric diamond prints to metallic silks, to create complementary men’s oversized totes and iPad cases. An aged leather-trimmed Burberry tartan travelers bag stood out as a brand DNA piece.
Like so many of Bailey’s past works, his ability to offer clients a potpourri of heritage and modern pieces makes his collections both timeless and du-jour. With this latest collection however, you get the sense that he established a middle ground between consumer-wear and editorial standouts. Granted, many of the metallic pieces might be fad-ish and the jury is still out on the ‘Birkenstocks with socks’ idea; still we can’t help but feel that our fashion tastebuds have been challenged and the flavor of textural boldness is starting to grow on us.
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Burberry Prorsum Spring Summer 2013 Menswear Show Video
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Photos and Video Courtesy of Burberry
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