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Burberry’s Busy Season

Barcelona — As Burberry gets ready to unveil its New York flagship, it has just planted roots in Spain.<br><br>The iconic British brand has had quite a year, what with new stores and going public, and this month opened its first Spanish store. To...

Barcelona — As Burberry gets ready to unveil its New York flagship, it has just planted roots in Spain.

The iconic British brand has had quite a year, what with new stores and going public, and this month opened its first Spanish store. To celebrate, the company entertained 300 guests in the two-story, 20,000-square-foot store in Barcelona, where they nibbled three-star chef Ferran Adriá’s bite-sized portions of marinated raw tuna, breaded langoustines, roast peppers and bananas (together) and miniature raspberry macaroons. Adriá is considered Spain’s Salvador Dali of the kitchen.

The Burberry check was ubiquitous. “Even the raindrops are square,” one guest quipped as it started to drizzle. A tieless David Linley, who designed a series of boxes incorporating the famous check for Burberry’s new home collection, observed, “It is all about meeting people, isn’t it?” His wife, Serena, wore a white pintucked Burberry dress, and Romanian actress Elsa Pataki wore a lace-trimmed Burberry bra and miniskirt, transparent T and pigtails.

Other guests included Enrique Puig of the Barcelona-based fragrance empire; Ricardo Bofill Jr., son of the city’s renowned architect; Marta Ferrusola, the wife of regional government president Jordi Pujol, who was greeted on the red carpet by Rose Marie Bravo, Burberry chief executive. Bravo wore a midnight-blue sleeveless dress with a matching pistachio-lined wrap.

Around 11 p.m., guests trekked across the street to Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, recently polished for Barcelona’s current celebration of the 150th anniversary of modernist Gaudi’s birth. The house is open to the public and the lower floors had been turned into a disco for the Burberry crowd.

Bravo hung out with the Linleys and Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey until well after midnight, although the party went on past 3. By that time, the scene included leggy models participating in Barcelona’s fashion week and a looser dress code — from low-waisted jeans and sexy tops to beaded biker shorts.

Meanwhile, in New York, Burberry’s flagship at 9 East 57th Street is scheduled to open Oct. 30. The facade, already partially visible, adds a clever dimension to Burberry’s branding. It evokes the famous Burberry plaid, with a grid-like framework that references the warp and weave of the fabric.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to Gensler, the architectural firm that created the facade, “An unusual use of expanded metal for the grid’s structure creates another layer to the weave, just as the Burberry fabric pattern lays atop its weave. The metal mesh’s moire effect also provides a textured depth, recalling the tactile, pliable and dimensional features of the fabric.” In addition, the architectural firm said it incorporated limestone into the facade to reference the brand’s signature beige and offset the grid’s bronze color.