When Christopher Bailey claimed inspiration from “the inner sassiness of the girl next door” for Burberry‘s Resort collection, he might have been invoking the stuff of a 16-year-old boy’s fantasy. Is that the Burberry woman? Well, maybe if Cara Delevingne were living next door. But otherwise, Bailey’s reference points were more apposite: Audrey Hepburn for the soft tailoring, the little black dress, the beatnik/librarian vibe (Funny Face Forever) of a sweater and pencil skirt paired with a mid-heel shoe; Helmut Newton for worldly eveningwear whose racer backs cried out for Newton’s broad-shouldered Teutons.
It was a funny kind of mix. Slouchy knits—an angora cardigan jacket, for instance, or a sweater that was bowed in back—had a fresh, pastel sweetness, matched by the squidgy luxury of crushable envelopes in crocodile. But posed against that were fabrics thickened by bonding and cut into substantial coats and skirts, or experiments in texture like the dress in a plongée leather washed to a papery fineness and foiled with gold. They seemed to be tipping the cap to a slightly screwy glamour, even screwier when it was expressed in cotton tees weighed down with big, shiny embellishments.
A Burberry bird whispered that those Funny Face-d proportions—the long-lapelled coats and jackets, the pencil skirts, the mid-heels—were actually an early warning of an incoming 1990s renaissance. But equally, they followed on from Fall’s fetish-y pre-Swinging Sixties feel. It worked so well for Bailey last season that it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he kept it round a little longer.