British fashion heavyweight Burberry Prorsum summoned a biker spirit as it presented the Spring/Summer 2016 collection at London fashion Week on Monday.
Models wearing leather jackets over fine lace dresses paraded in front of a star-studded audience, in a marriage of the delicate and the powerful.
Burberry’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey had treated fans to a sneak preview of the collection on “Snapchat” on Sunday, ahead of the show at Kensington Gardens, close to the iconic Royal Albert Hall.
Among the hundreds of guests in the church-like glass venue were actress Sienna Miller, supermodels Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne and Vogue chief Anna Wintour.
Soul singer Alison Moyet — accompanied by a symphony orchestra — kicked off the ambitious and eclectic show with four songs live from the catwalk.
The lambskin biker jackets — made at a British factory famed for creating army uniforms since the 18th century — featured ornate goldwork cording and metal detailing and were “influenced by twentieth century motoring styles,” according to the company.
They covered dresses made of lace, one of Bailey’s favoured fabrics that he used extensively during the most recent men’s collection in June.
The designer returned to another classic with a slim fit adaptation of the Burberry trench coat, whose combination mesh and macrame lace hinted at Bailey’s penchant for juggling fabrics.
“It’s not so much about the trend, its more about an emotion and an attitude,” he explained to the press.
– A ticket for the ballet –
Nautical influences were explored through double-faced cashmere pea coats with crested buttons and rounded shoulders and the Royal Navy-inspired wooden toggles on the collection’s silk satin duffel coats.
Moving to the accessories, the design house presented flexible nylon backpacks with leather fastenings carried by models wearing semi-transparent lace dresses and light coats.
Earlier in the day, Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic helped transform Marylebone’s Seymour Leisure Centre into a dream world of geometric shapes.
Her show was marked by long, fluid dresses that glided down to the ankles in, soft, almost pastel tones of blue, white and purple.
The soft-cut designs, which included jumpsuits and a transparent coat with black bands, were conceived with comfort in mind, giving both freedom of movement and of expression.
“I started with references from the modern ballet, from contemporary ballet, but also ballets from 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s…all the way through to our time,” the designer told AFP.
“I was particularly influenced by female dancers and artists who had such beautiful strong bodies, who moved in a very liquid way,” she added.
Her show also attracted the rich and famous, with Samantha Cameron, wife of Prime Minister David Cameron and a fashion-week regular, securing a front-row seat.
Based this year in the edgy central London neighbourhood of Soho, London Fashion Week will showcase the work of more than 150 designers and host dozens of fashion shows and presentations throughout the city before it ends on Tuesday.