A collection that plays for a big audience rather than specific customers at London Fashion Week
As the voice of Alison Moyet, the great romantic singer of the 1980s, filled the transparent Burberry tent, a full, live orchestra played her greatest hit: "Only You”.
But as the show reached its finale, I wondered who “you" is for Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer.
Is the British designer’s focus the young women and men wearing dark tailored coats, illuminated with the golden buttons and gilded decoration that British officers refer to ironically as "scrambled egg"? I thought this tailoring was perfectly Burberry — and a neat reflection of the ceremonial dress currently displayed in two Royal palaces.
If the dense colours and wintry fabrics seemed an unlikely choice for spring-summer 2016, the dark was offset with lace: as shirts for men (looking a bit forced) and as charming dresses for women. A criss-cross cage of a women’s ankle boot" added some pizazz.
"People don’t care about seasons — half the world is cold or hot at any given time anyway," Bailey said backstage. He also explained that the gilding came from working on the braiding with a company that did all the ceremonial work for the Queen.
So where did the grungy, 1990s look of elongated satin slip dresses come from? The models walked around the orchestra pit wearing orthopedic-style sandals and were weighed down by backpacks.
Those bags also had a touch of gilt: the initials of each male or female model. Perhaps this is the new, "Only You" personalisation on offer from Burberry?
In a business sense, Bailey may be right about being all things for all potential clients. Burberry has expanded its global reach exponentially under his 14-year tenancy at the helm. I felt he had a good thing going with the ceremonial influences, in a year when Elizabeth II has been in the news for being her country’s longest-serving queen.
The designer told me that, on the runway this season, he mixed the upscale Burberry Prorsum range with the wider-reaching Burberry Brit. It seemed like another way of trying to appeal to everyone at once, without the essence of fashion: focus.