In Viv Albertine’s recent and very readable memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.—yes, seriously, that’s the title, so good she named it thrice—the former guitarist in the 1970s all-girl London punk band the Slits recalls her teenage years, when she was bedecked in a purple maxi dress bought from Kensington Market and listening to Marc Bolan, soaking up that patchouli-scented moment of hippie abandon to Eastern mysticism. Flash forward to 2015 and to Burberry Prorsum, and we’re sitting listening, pre-show, to Marc Bolan and, less than a mile from where Kensington Market once stood, going to watch a show full of Christopher Bailey’s imaginings of that era: lightly quilted floral and paisley tiered dresses, cabans, and ponchos; trench coats in great patchwork prints or elongated and cut from claret wool; and looooong suede camouflage patched boots. All of this delivered in the wonderfully autumnal color palette—indigo, teal, ochre, a deep and vibrant red—that Bailey is so good at. (Incidentally, you may have already seen those boots on #caradelevingne, who sat front row along with the likes of four-time Grammy winner Sam Smith, Kate Moss, Jourdan Dunn, and Naomi Campbell.)
The bohemian—if you have been willfully ignoring the bigger narratives of fashion lately—is back, and how. Somehow it feels like Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum has always owned it more than most. Perhaps it’s because that idealized and romanticized character, all burgundy velvet and Victoriana florals, belongs to the London of the sixties and seventies that Bailey has constantly evoked in his collections. Or perhaps it’s because he has successfully linked his Burberry to the world of rock. This time round, he had British vocalist Clare Maguire sing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (the Tony-nominated Carole King musical Beautiful opens tomorrow in London) to George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” And in its way, the collection matched that musical progression, from clean-line short graphic sixties dresses and coats to the closing looks—which might be a suede cape swishing with tiers of fringe, or light-reflecting mirror embroidered dresses—the point when Harrison and the show alike were all aboard the Marrakech Express.