Burberry Autumn Winter 2016: Shimmering Mini Dresses and a Shiny New Business Model

Burberry Autumn Winter 2016

I admit I have a personal attachment to British fashion. Growing up during the 1960’s, my fondest memory was of my English nanny who lovingly referred to me as “Master Edward” and it was in her company, on a trip to the bank, that I was first introduced to the mini-skirt. I distinctly remember entering the building to discover maybe 20 or more female employees wearing brightly colored mini-skirts; the British fashion invasion had arrived.

Though it has gone through many metamorphoses since then, British fashion still captures my imagination with its unique blend of innovation and tradition and Burberry is no exception.  One of the big stories from London Fashion Week was the Burberry Autumn Winter 2016 ready-to-wear collection which took us back to the swinging 60s. Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey presented glamorous sequin mini dresses and bold reimaginings of the classic British trench coat. But not only did Burberry present a new twist on some old favorites, it also bucked fashion convention by releasing select items from the collection into online and retail shops immediately after the show.

Luxe and Shimmer

The Burberry Autumn Winter 2016 runway show was a stylish collection of colorful sequin tops and mini-dresses in asymmetric plaid motifs and floral patterns with contrasting pleats. The color palette was very rich and included emerald green, navy blue, red, gold and magenta all of which had an incredible metallic sheen. Textured black nylons with studded ankle boots rounded out the classic yet edgy look. Some described it as patchwork style – unique color combinations combined with jarring textures, all influenced by British history. The influence of artists and musicians such as glam rock icon David Bowie permeated the collection, offering today’s Burberry woman a rebellious and luxurious look.

Reinventing the British Trench Coat

With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, Burberry gave its iconic military inspired trench coat a makeover this season with feminine touches in cuts and fabrics. To cover up those sensual sequin mini-dresses Bailey presented beautiful double-breasted cashmere coats in navy with red piping, oversize lapels, buttons and, of course, the legendary Burberry plaid lining. If that doesn’t suit you, the collection also included bold and colorful wool plaid coats in red or mustard hues with black trim. And for those who long for the military look, there was a patent leather trench coat with rock and roll glamour written all over it.

See Now, Buy Now

Not satisfied with simply offering a stunning collection, Burberry also turned the fashion industry on its ear this season by offering some of its Autumn Winter 2016 pieces for sale both in store and online immediately after the runway show. With fast fashion outlets delivering looks similar to those presented by high fashion designers within two to three weeks of their shows, lost exclusivity equates to lost sales. Burberry is one of the first designer fashion houses to try to give fast fashion outlets a run for their money by beating them at their own game. The conventional high fashion business model of having to wait for four to six months after collections are presented to buy your favorite pieces is now dead. Starting this fall, all of Burberry’s collections, once shown, will be available for sale instantly.

The Battle has Begun

This new business model is expected to reduce the number of Burberry runway shows to just two – spring and autumn – which will be held in-season rather than six months before the clothes appear in stores. The battle against fast fashion has truly begun and other major designer brands must adapt or perish.

The New Influencers

These changes at Burberry also signal the rise of fashion blogs like Style Drama as influencers, meeting the demand for immediate access to the latest fashion news. Glossy print fashion magazines that once had exclusive access to runway shows because they required weeks or months to prepare editorial material have lost their relevance in the Internet age.

In the past, critics from glossy fashion magazine intimidated designers and consumers with their stranglehold on the industry but now the consumer is the critic. In my opinion, that’s the way it should be.

Above: Burberry Autumn Winter 2016 collection featuring sequin floral mini dress with a reinventing of the traditional British trench coat.

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