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Timeless Fashion: Burberry’s Henry Moore Moment

Burberry February 2017 Campaign_002
Burberry Prorsum SS16, The Show (Burberry) 32

Greenhouse effect: Kensington Gardens transformed into a paradise for fashion’s exquisite specimens

Burberry’s entire Spring/Summer ’17 collection has been inspired by the work and techniques of British sculptor Henry Spencer Moore (1889-1986). His take on scale, shape and texture has been translated into wearable sculptural silhouettes and asymmetric designs. But what does Burberry and Moore have in common?

Well, apart from chiselled models, acute angles and sensual lines, both fashion house and respected sculptor can trace their roots to Yorkshire, north England, the home of the trench coat and Moore’s birthplace in Castleford, Wakefield. Moore was celebrated as one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century, and arguably the most internationally celebrated sculptor of the period. He is renowned for his semi-abstract monumental bronzes, which can be seen all over the world.

Model Erin O'Connor arrives for the Burberry catwalk show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016 in London, Britain, February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor - RTX2818A

Supermodel Erin O’Connor arrives for the Burberry catwalk show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016 in Kensington Gardens

Burberry is a fashion behemoth of the 21st century spreading its tentacles to all four corners of the globe. Established in 1856, the label is a global British luxury brand with a heritage of innovation, craftsmanship and design. The business comprises of five divisions: menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, accessories and beauty. Headquartered in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange (BRBY.L), after a period in the doldrums with football hooligans appropriating its signature house check as a uniform of choice, the fashion house has since clawed back its cool and is riding high again.

Its catwalk show which was until recently held in Kensington Gardens, has become the hottest ticket at London Fashion Week. A mix of theatre and live musical performance, A-list celebrities jostle with fashion editors, pop stars, supermodels and actors for front row seats. Romeo Beckham has modelled and Brooklyn Beckham has shot its Burberry Brit campaign partly around his home in Holland Park, west London.

Frow: (Clockwise) US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, multiple grand slam winner Serena Williams, Alexa Chung, Brooklyn Beckham and new Henry Moore-influenced collection for SS’17

When it announced last season it was embarking on a radical seamless ‘see now, buy now’ strategy with its collections, the fashion world was turned on its head. In September 2016, the brand replaced its four-show calendar with two shows, combining its womenswear and menswear collections on the runway for the first time. The move closes the traditional gap between the runway show and retail availability of the collection.

Burberry February 2017 Campaign

Sculpted: Models in the Burberry campaign at Henry Moore’s gardens in Hertfordshire with Sheep’s Piece

It will seem an alliance with Moore should not be sniffed at as purely a marketing gimmick in the fickle world of fashion. The campaign for its Spring/Summer ’17 collection was shot on location at Henry Moore Studios and Gardens, Hertfordshire: the artist’s former home. Burberry worked closely with the Henry Moore Foundation to capture the new collection alongside the work it was inspired by.

The 13 models who featured are captured in the gardens of the Foundation, with Moore’s sculpture Sheep Piece (1971–72) in the background and a recreation of the artist’s ‘Plastic Studio’, also specially constructed for the shoot. The campaign will launch in its entirety following the brand’s second straight-to-consumer show on 20 February and run until August 2017 across outdoor, print and digital advertising, as well as Burberry platforms including, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, WeChat, Sina Weibo, Kakao, LINE and Youku. There again, it has scale, impact and ubiquity just like Moore.

25th September 1959:  English sculptor, Henry Spencer Moore (1898 - 1986) in his Hertfordshire studio with two of his sculptures, 'Woman' and 'Falling Warrior'.  (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

English sculptor, Henry Spencer Moore (1898 – 1986) in his Hertfordshire studio with two of his sculptures, ‘Woman’ and ‘Falling Warrior’

Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative and executive officer, who also hails from Yorkshire confesses his admiration for Moore’s work. “I have been fascinated by the great British sculptor Henry Moore for as long as I can remember – his work has always had a powerful influence on me. Looking at, and thinking about, his work set up a series of conversations as we began working on our latest collection. The result is an incredibly enriching collaboration with his Foundation which has extended well beyond our show, and into an extraordinary exhibition of his work and process at Makers House.

“Moore’s work on display will be a shining example of the creativity and enormous contribution he made to the development of contemporary art in the UK and way beyond, and I’m excited to be showing our February collection alongside the remarkable work of the artist that inspired it.”

Members of the public viewing Henry Moore's newly installed sculpture 'The Arch' in Kensington Gardens, London, 1st October 1980. (Photo by Chris Ware/keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Members of the public viewing Henry Moore’s newly installed sculpture ‘The Arch’ in Kensington Gardens, London, 1st October 1980

Godfrey Worsdale, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation returns the compliments. “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Henry Moore Foundation, we are delighted to launch this unique collaboration with Burberry, which shows one of art history’s greatest sculptors in an intriguing new light.
I feel sure that Henry Moore would have been fascinated to see his work inspiring such outstanding designs, and we hope this collection will encourage new audiences to discover and appreciate his remarkable work and the studios he created them in.” Moore’s works have been exhibited in Kew Gardens and The Arch currently stands in Kensington Gardens.

Craftsmanship Workshops

Burberry is throwing open the doors at its new West End base, the aptly named Makers House where it is staging an extensive exhibition with a rare opportunity for visitors to explore Moore’s working methods and the evolution of his iconic sculptural ideas. The venue will reopen with extended opening hours and free admission from 21–27 February, and will feature the following:

  • Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 20.38.51An exhibition of over 40 of Moore’s sculptures, monumental bronzes, working models, drawings and maquettes. Works on show will include Mother and Child: Block Seat (1983–84), Draped Reclining Mother and Baby (1983) and Torso with Point (1967).
  • Burberry’s February 2017 collection for men and women.
  • A programme of workshops, events and acoustic performances.

Burberry’s Straight-to-Consumer Model

Burberry February 2017 Campaign_001Digital front row; It was one of the earliest adopters of the internet and social media live streaming its catwalk presentations for its fans and customers around the world.

Catwalk to consumer; All menswear and womenswear looks from the collection will be available to shop via Burberry physical, digital and partner retail networks, immediately after the show.

Seasonless, immediate and personal; the new format and calendar have been designed with a global audience in mind.

Henry Moore, Inspiration & Process, Makers House, 1 Manette Road, London W1, 21 – 27 February, 2017.


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