The classic plaid-lined trench is perhaps the most recognizable statement of London's ubiquitous fashion culture. The reins of Burberry could not find better hands than those of creative director Christopher Bailey. He has taken the over 150 year old house to new heights, soaring beyond iconic outerwear to create a brand that is sure to weather the economy, fickle critics, and fleeting trends.
My very first experience with the Brit brand was about 15 years ago, when my dad took me shopping for a 7th grade report card present (a Long Island phenomena). We ended up at the Americana in Manhasset, minutes from my private school, and before I knew it, I was in love with a small leather tote with the classic plaid skin and brown top handle. It was just large enough to fit my lip gloss and a pocket mirror, which was all I carried anywhere in 1995. Since then I've amassed a collection of scarves, coats, hats and belts, and with the exception of one t-shirt I caved in and spent $110 on several years ago when I had a job, no actual clothes. Too bad that now, all I want from Burberry is the clothing!
Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, who invented gabardine (a water resistant fabric) and had it patented in 1888, the brand produced mainly outerwear, and the iconic trench was the result of a commission by the War Office in 1914 to make officer's attire more suitable (the now trademarked plaid lining came in 1920). Since its conception, the check (originally the Haymarkert check) gave birth to the Novacheck (which adorns my many accessories) and in 2006, Bailey introduced the Housecheck, an even larger more modern cousin to the archetype.
Bailey closed London Fashion Week with modern updates on the classic Burberry stalwarts. The trench silhouette appeared in dresses and separates, and the nude khaki hue that is universally flattering (and everywhere for spring/summer 2010) was rampant. Bailey was named designer of the year by the British Fashion Council last week, and Burberry was named the brand of the year. My closet could definitely use an infusion of khaki accented with Housecheck for spring.....