[Image via Style.com]
Tudor elegance and exaggeration made for a strong range from Christopher Bailey.
My first choice was Burberry, completely by accident, as I've recently been spending a lot of time listening to music by Tom Odell. When YouTube started auto-filling 'Tom Odell Burberry', I knew where I'd heard his song 'Another Love' before - as the opening tune for the Quality Street-esque womenswear Prorsum collection back in September 2012 at London Fashion Week. I'm going to see Tom in March when he'll be gigging in Brighton and I can't wait to hear more of his stuff. For the record (inadvertent music-related joke there), his song worked brilliantly with the collection and it hinted at some of the drama in the clothing; capes, playing with proportions, flashes of colour and unexpectedly brilliant metallics.
Here's the video, along with other music by Birdy and Ren Harvieu.
Regal Inspiration for the Collection
The most obvious thematic reference I could find from the show, which I severely doubt even appeared on the mood boards at Burberry HQ, was Henry VIII. Here's why.
[All images via Style.com]
Exaggerated Shoulders and Arms
In portraits you'll notice that Henry was shown as being incredibly large, with huge arms and shoulders worthy of an American football player. Although he wasn't the thinnest bloke around, he actually used a lot of padding in his clothing to make himself appear bigger, therefore coming across as more powerful and domineering to his public and to any potential enemies. It's basically the equivalent of an animal puffing itself up to look more threatening.
For Burberry Prorsum the puffed up aesthetic was also used to look powerful, but it also came across as fashion-forward thanks to the beautiful metallic material and the minimalist outfits. No heavy embroidery and detail needed here, unlike the Tudors, who had a penchant for embellishment.
Ok, so Burberry went for a mixture of capelets (seen above) and full capes, but either way they looked great. Whereas the models look chic, Henry would have worn a cape for things like hunting, not hanging around at cocktail parties, but I'm sure he'd approve of these tailored numbers.
It was said that the song Greensleeves was written about Anne Boleyn during her pregnancy. Those Tudors certainly knew how to make morning sickness fun. In light of this, it would be fairly apt if Kate Middleton (the most famous 21st century royal sufferer) started wearing some olive green pieces from the collection.
Hans Holbein the Younger was a really popular artist at the time of Henry VIII and painted royalty - including the man himself - on many occasions. One of his signature colours was this beautiful teal blue which he often used in the background of his paintings. Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII was called 'the best piece of propaganda ever' by the BBC (he portrayed the king as a strong and impressive man, rather than the ailing 45-year-old that he actually was). Anyway, Henry might not have ever been painted with this colour, but it's still something that I closely associate with him. It's also really striking on the catwalk, especially amongst all those jewel tones.
It was either fresh and impossibly shiny or burnished to perfection, but there was more than a hint of gold for S/S13. The Tudors couldn't get enough of the stuff in their castles, palaces and ceremonies, so it's hardly surprising that we should find some here. Christopher Bailey's designs were tempting thanks to clever tailoring and flattering ruched fabric. The gold jacket in the centre is particularly eye-catching, though it might not be as easy to carry off in the British suburbs than in a piece of fashion editorial.
Ready for Battle
That nipped-in waist and those power-dressing jackets made me think of Tudors in combat, whilst the fluted material looked a bit like gauntlet gloves or Elizabethan ruffs (from the era of Henry's daughter). Again, it's about exaggerated forms and creating a silhouette that makes the wearer seem more impressive. I also loved the tailored cups on the trench coat (centre), which looked like something to be worn in a fashion battle.
And here are three Henry VIII directions that the collection thankfully didn't take:
- Multiple wives
In all seriousness, there was so much inspiration to take away from Burberry Prorsum this season that it was hard to narrow down the selection. Though the creative team might not have been thinking of fearsome monarchs at the time, there's something decadent and definitely Tudor about the collection that I absolutely love.