The Burberry Prorsum man next winter is self-assured and confident, because he knows that he is a self-made man, starting from the lowest ranks. He proudly retains marks of his working-class origins – the flat north-country miner’s cap – and his garments are primarily utilitarian, practical and comfortable, with carefully chosen fragments of colour. He has made it into the upper echelons of business and countryside society, and in globally-warmed England, the meteorological peril is not snow but rain, and all the looks were accompanied by umbrellas, sometimes slung over the shoulder like a pacifist rifle. No surprise that the show presented a variety of trench coats, some with a fascinating detail towards the bottom hem, horizontal stripes of colour.
White polka dots were evident on shirts and tie, on brown background. Jerseys showed some interesting swaying geometric motifs, absolutely Vorticist, and the colour combinations recalled David Bomberg’s “Mud bath” and Wynham Lewis’ work, with subdued bordeaux used with petroleum blue. Colours reached some spectacularly electric effects, with metallic sheens and velvety fabrics enhancing the gorgeous combinations of blue, darkish red, violet and mustard.
The Burberry Prorsum man’s motto could be “Be Prepared” (same initials!) and his equipment often includes all sorts of external fittings and pockets on the trench coat. The overall look of light greys was enlivened by details such as coordinated gloves and bag in a mustard hue. Some of the padded jackets were very short with the characteristically enormous collars, while trousers were very slim on the legs, in contrast with the generous, chunky knitwear tops.
The show ended with “Nessun dorma” in a guitar version by Jeff Beck, while the rain returned for the final walkpast and Christopher Bailey’s justifiably confident dash to the front.
Coats and bats from the men’s autumn/winter 2012 show are on sale online at burberry.com until 22 January 2012.