Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Fashion: Burberry x Henry Moore At Makers House

Burberry Exhibition London

For this year's London Fashion Week, Burberry impressed the industry with a very special treat. Like Louis Vuitton displayed its Series Three collection to the public for free in 2015 (Life Lately in London 4) or the legendary Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition, the British Luxury label showcased its brand new collection in an arty display at the uber cosmopolitan Makers House in Soho. The fashion exhibition was open to the public for one week only and completely commission free. 

In the midst of London's trendy Soho area, unnoticeable and blending perfectly into the surrounding brick, glass and edgy buildings, is Makers House - the key location for Burberry's Henry Moore Inspiration & Process exhibition. The warehouse with its stunning interior was perfect to celebrate the iconic style of Burberry which was inspired by the dynamic artwork of Moore. Its rough, industrial space underlined perfectly the composition of art and fashion, both arbitrary to each other but still so closely intertwined.

I personally have never heard of Moore and a quick research revealed why Christopher Bailey chose to work with the Henry Moore Foundation on this special project. As a child, Bailey was inspired by the artist's sculptures which can be found around the world in parks and at the most random locations. It also happens that Burberry's trench coat production began in Castleford, Yorkshire, Moore's birth town. Bailey also mentioned that he felt inspired by Moore's work all of his life and wanted to incorporate the three-dimensional forms into the current collection.

The pieces were first shown on the LFW runway and afterwards made accessible to the general public. Even without models, the exhibition came very much to life. The first room was plastered with posters of Moore's work. The main room, an open spaced airy atrium was filled with the latest pieces. In between the stunning exhibits, Moore's harmonic concave sculptures all dynamic, flowing and curvy to represent the human body added a sophisticated touch. It was very easy to see how the artwork has been influenced by the body and the collection focusing on body image and consciousness. The aesthetical perfection of his bronze sculptures was simply magnificent and sophisticated to the very last detail.

Henry Moore Burberry Exhibition

The fashion exhibition then highlighted "The Cape" in 78 limited editions. All capes were elaborate versions, featuring any known material from seashells to wire, sequins and diamonds. Lace hugged generous volants, tassles and extravagant ruffles. Layers upon layers of fine linen teamed up with bows created chic and timeless styles. Shiny pearls, feathers and beads sparkled from every corner. There was literally so much to see! Each of these were handmade and are available to purchase on special order.

Burberry feather cape
burberry cape pearls and feathers
Burberry collection cape with pearls
Burberry cape close up
Burberry diamond cape
Burberry tassle cape
Burberry the cape exhibition

Visitors were allowed to get close up with Burberry's latest outfits which included clear lines and cuts, lots of wool, linen and gorgeous handbags. Rows of mannequins presented the styles, giving a lively impression of what the actual show must have felt like - a proper throwback to the exclusive atmosphere at London Fashion Week to be experienced again. The entire exhibition was executed on a high professional level and I loved how engaged the audience was by the way the collection was designed and presented.

Burberry Makers House London
Burberry Moore collection London Makers House
Burberry Moore collection
Burberry sketches and materials

The second floor hosted more incredible artwork by Moore and also told the story of the clothes making for the collection. Both, fashion and artwork, were reflected from different angles and perspectives and gave fantastic insights into dressmaking and the general process from inspiration to processing the ideas into actual clothing. Again the dressmaking in combination with art conveyed the powerful message of fashion being an art form and recognised as an expression of such.

Burberry collection makers house
Inspiration and process burberry exhibition
Henry Moore sculpture

Though a luxury label, I welcome Burberry's approach. The brand which has in recent years underwent a drastic image change makes the right steps towards a more open approach: fashion is a consumer good that needs to be wearable and has a market value, but it is also an expression of oneself, a creative outlet and strong display of human craftsmanship. To produce fashion that is consumer-friendly but still of high quality and reminiscent of its arty nature in a stylish, classy way, is something that Burberry definitely have achieved.

Following the success of the collection at its first introduction during Fashion Week and the enormous interest, the exhibition will also travel to Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Thanks so much for reading today's Burberry x Henry Moore Inspiration & Process at Makers House fashion exhibition. 

Till next time, 
Carolin
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