For such a legendary name, Burberry delivers a very modest show (at least compared to other time-tested giants such as Chanel and Gucci), which is much to their credit. Burberry is comfortable with their rather conventional character and humble in their innovation, which is refreshing today when so many brands boast of a creativity that simply isn't there. Burberry doesn't reinvent the wheel, but rather embellishes and builds off of it, while other brands in similar positions seem to be wasting their energy in attempting every single, yet unnecessary, way to change either the clothes themselves or, more commonly, the flesh and bones of a well-established brand (cough, cough SAINT LAURENT.) Christopher Bailey would be a fool to ignore the British heritage woven into the famous tartan, and he would also be a fool to try to "reinvent" it (he is slowly winning back the integrity of the print from the chavs and cheap copies), but he does know how to manipulate and save it from complete cliché in tasteful splashes here and there. He preserves the character and dignity of the storied house with a certain modesty that is rare with such esteemed brands. While he manages to maintain the history with respect, Bailey also brings characterized modernity to Burberry.
Music is often a focus at his shows; last season's concert-fashion show hybrid starring Alison Moyet amplified the aura of the clothes, and subsequently the Britishness of the brand. This time Nottingham native Jake Bugg captivated the audience and conducted the clothes passing around him with his singular self and guitar located conveniently in the center of the runway. And just as music is rarely completely new, but rather a new combination of already existing notes and tunes, Bailey's creations for Burberry don't possess the desperate quality of grasping for newness, but instead a comfortable, modest, and, most importantly, fresh approach to the traditional definition of British fashion. Burberry is not a brand obviously trying to achieve a certain "look" ; Burberry is not a brand boastful of their history; and Burberry is not a brand to rest on its laurels.
In a Vogue interview after the show, Bailey called the collection a "patchwork," remarking on how he pulled from various musical influences as well as Burberry's own (and undoubtedly vast) archives. In addition to the music and military references, and all things Burberry and British, there were distinct notes of qualities original to other brands; a style of pattern and color mixing native to Miuccia Prada, the 70s metallics brought back by Alessandro Michele at Gucci. With all the hype and exaggeration around New York fashion week, London, and especially fuss-free Burberry, acts as a reliable cleanser, freshening us up before the heavy lifting to follow in Milan and Paris.