The resurgence of the handmade in the age of the digital is gathering force amongst London’s creative thinkers. Nothing illustrates that more succinctly than the collection Christopher Bailey led for Burberry Prorsum (where he’s set to be elevated to CEO) for fall. “Everyone was hand-painting in the studio. Every time someone would finish a bag, we’d go, ‘Ahh! That’s amazing!’ ” he said backstage, while being jostled by hundreds of well-wishers and camera crews from every nation. Was he seeking something with more of a human touch, then? “I’d say, more soul, yes,” he replied. “Of course I’m a big fan of digital, but you can combine both, I think.”
“Big fan” is putting it mildly, of course. Bailey has no rivals in the way he’s concentrated on applying every possible new technology to communicating Burberry-ness to the globe—live-streaming the mammoth show in Kensington Gardens is the least of it. Last year, the company even used the term “digital luxury” for what they do. But maybe the meaning of luxury is shifting now, toward treasuring soft, warm, and quirky things over the hard, glossy, and tech-y. That’s surely why Bailey chose to get back to a charming sense of the eccentric, arty Britishness which distinguished the beginning of his career.
He took a moment to explain the title of the collection, The Bloomsbury Girls, which was inspired by the arty-crafty/literary cluster of people—Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Virginia Woolf—who inhabited the Bloombury quarter of London and Charleston house in East Sussex. “Basically, walls, furniture, fabric, anything that moved, they painted it!” The clothes followed suit. Free-form hand-drawn flowers and foliage smothered everything from shearling coats and jackets to dresses, ponchos, traily scarves, blanket throws, and booties. It gave everything a welcome flavor of the domestic, the cozy, the romantic, and the very special. ( Vogue us)