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Burberry dazzles London Fashion Week despite gloomy outlook

LONDON - Luxury British label Burberry dazzled a star-studded crowd with colourful metalics, corsets and capes at the most anticipated show of London Fashion Week – despite a gloomy profit warning.

Set in Kensington Gardens, the huge greenhouse-like tent which housed the show led by Christopher Bailey was plunged into darkness.

A backdrop showed Burberry’s new flagship store lit up against silhouettes of iconic London buildings and monuments – Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and Nelson’s Column.

Models rolled out Burberry’s latest spring-summer collection on Monday under the expectant gaze of burlesque style icon Dita von Teese, American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, tennis star Andy Murray and actor Dev Patel.

First up is a long white cloak. Next, tailored jackets worn over swimsuits in pleated satin, followed by dresses and tops with fitted corsets.

A cropped cape covering the shoulders often completes the look, setting off a feather dress in midnight blue or purple hotpants.

Burberry’s colour palette for the season ranges from dusky pinks and flesh colours, suggestive of lingerie, to green lace dresses and trench coats in red and fuschia.

The clothes take on an increasingly aluminium hue, until a grand finale of rainbow-coloured metallic raincoats.

“It was an explosion of colour, it was really surprising,” enthused British fashion editor Hilary Alexander who said she was “electrified” by the show.

The event overshadowed the group’s warning last week that it was expecting full-year profits to be at the lower end of market expectations after sales slowed in the second quarter.

The announcement by Burberry, which obtains 37 percent of its revenue from Asia, sent its shares tumbling and created shock waves among other global players in the sector amid fears of a Chinese slowdown.

The show also comes not long after the opening of the biggest of Burberry’s 200 boutiques around the world, on London’s busy Regent Street.

The flagship store stretches across 2,500m2 of trading space spread over four floors in a building dating back to 1820, restored by creative director Bailey.

The grandiose London shop, with its ornate ceilings and marble and oak floors, recalls the heritage of a brand formed in 1856, highlighted by vintage pieces such as a beige leather ladies coat from 1912, or a 1934 tweed overcoat.

But it turns also to the latest technologies, notably allowing customers to see items of clothing on screens from every angle.

Day four of London Fashion Week also featured a show by duo Peter Pilotto, who remained faithful to ther creed of colourful, computer-generated prints.

On a podium covered in geometric patterns, under a neon light, black silhouettes exploded into a vibrant spectrum of cobalt blue, scarlet red, and fluorescent yellow.

And just as colours were splashed together, so too were materials: netting juxtaposed with silk, sometimes covered with beading or mirror fragments.

Some designs evoked the Op-art of French Hungarian Victor Vasarely, others took on an African theme.

London Fashion week draws to a close Tuesday, when Mulberry – another star brand in Asia – takes centre stage.


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