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Christopher Bailey Breathes New Life Into Burberry

London: Actors, tennis stars and musicians flocked to the Burberry Prorsum show that was the centerpiece of London Fashion Week on Tuesday (Sept 21)  but the focus was on designer Christopher Bailey's new creations.  The
PTI September 22, 2010 12:31 IST
PTI
London: Actors, tennis stars and musicians flocked to the Burberry Prorsum show that was the centerpiece of London Fashion Week on Tuesday (Sept 21)  but the focus was on designer Christopher Bailey's new creations.  

The Burberry fashion czar built on recent successes with studded biker jackets, leather-trimmed trench-style minidresses, and vibrant hot shots of colors like turquoise, lime green and purple for the spring and summer 2011 collection.  

It was a cutting edge, sexy look, with a few references back to the brand's storied heritage, and a few hints of military wear, but brought up-to-date. Many of the models wore skin tight leather trousers with quilted patterns - they needed help getting in and out of the outfits.  

Bailey dipped into the company archives for inspiration, adapting the designs for motorcycle wear created by company icon Thomas Burberry.

The fusion of classic design with modern accent has come to be a Bailey trademark, channeling the company's past and delicately guiding it forward.  

Stylists suggest that Bailey has been able to create an image - a Burberry woman if you will. Bailey had no trouble describing the look he had in mind.  The mood of the show was captured in an unscripted moment when the first of two models fell off her towering stilettos.

She merely picked them up and continued down the runway barefoot, personifying the relaxed self-confidence behind the clothes.  Though the collection was meant for spring and summer, the materials had a heavier feel than most collections of the season - an intentional effort to address a modern global audience facing different temperatures and climates outside the company's base in Europe.  The celebrities rushed to his side afterward to sing his praises.

An elegant Serena Williams hugged Bailey and posed for pictures alongside Scottish tennis ace Andy Murray.  Renowned photographer Mario Testino gushed over Bailey's vision.

"I loved the show," he said. "He's developed ... a woman."  

"Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker sat in the front row, along with the boy band The Cheek and actor Douglas Booth.  American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, with her niece, also sat in the front, admiring Bailey's work. Bailey, 38, was promoted to the newly created post of chief creative officer for Burberry last year after serving as the company's creative director for eight years.  

Helped by Bailey's touch, Burberry has recaptured its place in the fashion world in recent years, earning plaudits and sales for its recent collections.

Once seen as a staid company producing excellent but predictable rainwear and accessories, Burberry has become a trendsetter, with its youth-oriented designs often drawing on the company's extensive history.  

He has benefited from the strong backing of Angela Ahrendts, the company's American-born chief executive officer, who has helped modernize the company while emphasizing its British heritage.  AP