LONDON — Christopher Bailey is revisiting the Burberry archives.
The brand's creative director has delved into its history, pulled out a handful of its signature references and created the Burberry Icons Collection.
The new, accessories-driven collection bows for fall and marks Burberry's 150th anniversary. It will become a permanent part of the Burberry offering with regular additions each season.
"I started with the icons that immediately came to mind — the quilting, the check, the rivets and the Prorsum knight," said Bailey during a walk-through at the Burberry showroom here near Piccadilly Circus. "This collection is about looking at Burberry's past from a different point of view rather than getting too entrenched in the history. There's a traditional base, but it's translated in a modern way."
Bailey has mixed and matched icons, marrying the classic quilted Burberry jacket with the trench. The result is a quilted trench — in leather or cotton — with a beaver or fox fur collar. He's also taken the classic D-ring shape, which comes from the belt buckle on the trench, and used it as a detail on shoes, bags and silk scarves.
The collection features small, quilted leather accessories, watches with the D-ring detail, silk separates with a buckle print and quilted caps with the house's signature check. Sunglasses bear the gold Prorsum logo in the lower corner.
The handbag range features exotic skins and quilted leather, along with D-ring buckles, and leather-covered padlocks and rivet details. Retail prices range from $350 for a small bag to $2,125 for a larger one in exotic skin.
About 85 percent of the collection is made up of accessories; there are 200 accessories stockkeeping units.
Bailey has also played with moods, pairing a functional gabardine trench with oversize fox or beaver collars and D-ring leather belts. Gabardine was the ultraperformance fabric developed by Thomas Burberry in 1880.
"I love combining the two different worlds of outdoor and city," said Bailey, "and the disheveled elegance of it all — the luxe fur collar and the outdoorsy trench. This collection is not so much about the pieces themselves but the attitude with which they're worn."He's also brought new personality to the trench, crafting it from wrinkly oxblood leather so soft that it gently sculpts around the body. That leather trench features horn buttons.
Prices range from $2,950 for a tailored trench with detachable fur collar to $6,560 for a black-gloss, leather-quilted, fur-trimmed one.
The collection will have its own designated area in all Burberry stores and also will be sold through the company's key wholesale accounts. It's meant to be worn both with the Prorsum line and the more commercial London line.
Some of the items — mostly bags — have already been incorporated into the fall ad campaign, and some bags were featured as part of the Prorsum show in Milan last month.
The collection, which will be on display in Burberry's New York showroom on Tuesday, will be sold in all Burberry stores and through the brand's key wholesale clients.
But by no means is Bailey finished with the concept. He said there's a lot more he can do with Burberry's icons.
"The trench alone has so many different aspects. We'll look at how it's tied and belted, at what we can do with horn buttons and checks. There are lots of different expressions we can work with."
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